4 questions, hundreds of answers
Prior to the Brainstorm conference, participants were asked to respond to four questions:
1. If the collective might of Brainstorm could be channeled to solve a single problem, what should it be?
2. What do you fear most?
3. What three global leaders will have the greatest impact in setting the course for the next decade?
4. What value do you most cherish?
Here is a summary (unscientifically collated, admittedly) of the answers.
1. The single problem to solve: Lots of worried people out there, but two big categories emerged: the global divide between rich and poor; and environmental issues, with global warming at the top of the list. The future of energy -- ie, moving away from fossil fuels in particular, also comes up repeatedly; and the role of business in the world as well.
Some others, in no particular order of frequency: education and literacy; checks and balances in Washington; poverty; hunger; nuclear and other forms of terror; intolerance; Muslim-Christian confrontation; globalization and its discontents; the need for a collective spiritual awareness; clean water.
2. What do you fear most? No clear "winners" here, but again global warming crops up repeatedly. A whole cluster of ideas having to do with intolerance; religious extremism; frustration; fear; polarization. Hard to find a single term for this, but this accounts for a broad array of answers. Some more specific concerns: avian flu; maniacs with money and power; fear itself; nothing at all; nuclear war; inaction; electronic voting; ignorance; political and social gridlock; viruses and biological pathogens.
3. Most important leaders in next decade? A very clear consensus here on two -- the President of the US (either Bush or the next one); and the leader of China (Hu Jintao or the next).
Almost everyone who answered mentioned one or both of these. The third slot is tightly contested with the leaders of Russia, China, India, Iran and Iraq (current and prospective) fighting it out for bronze. Ben Bernanke, Bill Gates; the Google guys; and the hoped-for moderate leader of the Arab world were all mentioned fairly often. Some of the more unusual answers: an unknown entrepreneur; Bill Gates; the global consumer; the prime minister of Sweden; science; John McCain; the chairman of Toyota; the Moral Man; the head of the World Health Organization; chairman of Exxon; Bono; a third-party US candidate; Kim Jong-il; Pat Russo; Narayna Murthy (head of Infosys); the leaders of Liberia and Nigeria; Rick Warren (Saddleback Church); the People, the People, the People.
4. Most cherished value - the usual stuff: integrity, honor, hope, responsibility, sense of humor, freedom, moral leadership, courage.
CNNMoney.com Comment Policy: CNNMoney.com encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNNMoney.com makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNNMoney.com may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNNMoney.com the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNNMoney.com Privacy Statement.