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Transitions and paradigms
  1. Leonard Duhl
  1. Correspondence to:
 Professor L Duhl
 School of Public Health, University of California at Berkeley, 410 Warren Hall, Berkeley 94720-7360, USA;

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“Poverty is the inability to command events that affect our lives.”

At this important time of crisis, I am reminded of the work of three of my good friends: Jonas Salk, Ernest Callenbach, Tarzie Vittachi. Each has contributed something very important in trying to understand the future.

Jonas Salk, involved with bacteriology, chose as a metaphor the S shaped curve. In this curve, he states that when resources are infinite the growth of bacteria is rapid. There is competition, a self concern, and a preoccupation with growth. Later, when the resources become diminished, there is a need to replace competition with collaboration, the birth rate slows down, and a completely new value system emerges. The period between the two curves he calls a transition period. This is a transition between what he calls epoch A and epoch B. He believes that we are now in the midst of that transition. Transitions are uncomfortable and often chaotic. Time is required, and as the Bible relates going from Egypt to the Promised Land took 40 years. One might say it took that long for the old people and the ideas to be replaced by new ones.

Ernest Callenbach has written a book called Ecotopia. This book, although a novel, tries to create an area where new values are supreme. The values that he considers important …

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