Saturday, January 10, 2009

Peter Leyden, Uncut

The January 2009 issue of Convene will be hitting mailboxes any day now. As part of our coverage of "Megatrends: Why Big Ideas (and Bold Solutions) Still Matter," we re-interviewed futurist Peter Leyden -- whom we first talked to about the economy in June 2008. Peter had a lot of interesting and hopeful things to say about the state of the financial system and what it means for meeting professionals, not all of which we could fit into the print magazine.

So, here's a choice outtake from our latest interview with Peter Leyden that you can read only here, on the Convene blog:

"People have made a decision to elect a [president] who's talking very transformationally, who's been very clear about how central clean-tech and greening will be to his vision, and seeing it very clearly as a rebuilding of America. You've also got this Democratic Congress that's totally gung ho about it. And the zeitgeist in the public has changed in some really fundamental ways since a year or two ago.

"The other thing is, we went through that gas freakout. We've gone from $150-a-barrel oil to [less than] $50 now, which just goes to show how fickle our worries can be. But the fundamental piece about oil that everyone gets is, you have to be an idiot to think we can go build SUVs for another decade. The necessity for shifting off oil, the debate about climate change -- we've now passed over a threshold for that as a national discussion and I think are really at a different space. You've got this amazing moment in American history where you could actually do really big things and shift really big -- fast. And that's such a rare opening. Unfortunately, fundamental change and fundamental shifts in how we run the economy almost always come out of this. In that way, we're 'lucky' we're in crisis."