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Accelerating Change

    {This document is found in Critical Thinking: How to Prepare Students for a Rapidly Changing World, by Richard Paul, Dillon Beach: Foundation for Critical Thinking, 1995, chapter one.}


The goal of this chapter is to trace the general implications of what are identified as the two central characteristics of the future: accelerating change and intensifying complexity. If change continues to move faster and faster, and if the changes that do occur become more and more complex, how are we to deal with the world? More specifically, how are we to understand how this change and complexity will play itself out? How are we to prepare for it? Paul and Willsen focus on the economic and educational dimensions of these questions. They lead us into and through the vision of four of our most penetrating thinkers: Robert Reich, Lester Thurow, W. Edward Deming, and Robert Heilbroner. The general thesis is that the visions of these thinkers are complementary and that collectively they provide us with a rich and pointed picture of what we must do, not because they are “visionaries,” but because they have done the profound analytic work which enables them to shed a clear light on very general patterns, all of which add up to accelerating change, intensifying complexity, and critical thinking. The chapter ends with an analysis of the implications for parenting, work, and education of the foundational fact that “the work of the future is the work of the mind, intellectual work, work that involves reasoning and intellectual self-discipline.”........

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