Shrinking of Our Planet

  • 1965
  • Concept
  • Exhibit map
R. Buckminster Fuller, the noted visionary and applied futurist, was one of the first to chart long-term trends of industrialization and globalization as early as the 1930s. In 1961, Fuller made a proposal to the International Union of Architects at their VIIth Congress to encourage architectural schools around the world to commit the next ten years to addressing how to make the world’s total resources, which then served only 40% of the world population, serve 100% of humanity. This was the beginning of a World Design Science Decade (WDSD), an international program to apply his strategies for Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science. The program itself never took off; however, the documents themselves reveal early ecological thinking in the 20th century. This trend chart from Document 6, produced by Fuller and his associate John McHale, shows how the confluence of human communication and transportation technologies produce a “shrinking Earth.” During the same decade that Gordon E. Moore predicted the acceleration curve of computing technologies (Moore’s Law), Fuller applied his comprehensive approach to map the global impact of what he termed “accelerating acceleration” and “ephemeralization” (tendency to develop smaller and more efficient technologies).

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Buckminster Fuller Institute. 2007. “Introduction to Buckminster Fuller’s World Game.” World Game: The Buckminster Fuller Institute. Accessed October 30, 2007.

Fuller, R. Buckminster. 1981. Critical Path. New York, NY: St. Martin’s Press.

Fuller, R. Buckminster. 1973. Earth, Inc. Garden City, NY: Anchor Press.

Fuller, R. Buckminster. 1969. Operating Manual for Spaceship Earth. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.

Fuller, R. Buckminster, and Anwar Dil. 1983. Humans in Universe. New York: Mouton.

Wikimedia Foundation. “Buckminster Fuller.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. 2007. Accessed October 30th, 2007.

Zung, Thomas T.K. 2001. Buckminster Fuller: Anthology for the New Millenium. New York: St. Matin’s Press.

Fuller, R. Buckminster, and John McHale. 1965. Shrinking of Our Planet. Courtesy of the Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller. In “4th Iteration (2008): Science Maps for Economic Decision-Makers,” Places & Spaces: Mapping Science, edited by Katy Börner and Elisha F. Hardy.