Welcome to Breakthrough Bootcamp

July 1, 2010 | Devon Swezey,

Each summer, the Breakthrough Institute offers a fellowship to ten young thought leaders from around the world interested in focusing on energy and climate or national security policy. Fellows join Breakthrough staff at our Oakland office to work on in-depth, collaborative research projects throughout the summer.

To prepare them for this work, for the first two weeks are dedicated to "Breakthrough Boot Camp," an intensive reading, writing, and lecture course that exposes our summer fellows to a wide range of thinking on many issues that inform the Breakthrough Institute's policy agenda. Topics include: modernization theory; aspirational politics and philosophy; social psychology; economics and innovation policy; technology policy; climate and energy innovation policy; and national security and counter-terrorism.

Fellows also hear directly from leading experts in the field, including many Breakthrough Senior Fellows, via virtual video lectures and discussions.

Our 2010 Breakthrough Generation Fellows having just completed Breakthrough Bootcamp and we wanted to share their experience with you.

Here is this year's Breakthrough Bootcamp. You can download a MS Word version of the syllabus here.

If you have any questions about the Breakthrough Generation program, please contact devon@thebreakthrough.org.

Welcome to BTI - Day 1

"Ecological Innovation and the Apollo Experiment"
Peter Teague

Lectures: Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus, "Shifting Paradigms and the Breakthrough Approach"

I. Modernization & Development - Day 2, 3

-- Modernization Theory

"The Social Constraint Toward Self-Constraint"
Norbert Elias in The Civilizing Process. Vol. II. State Formation and Civilization :: 365-379 (Page count: 14)

"Culture and Democracy" Ronald Inglehart in Culture Matters, (Basic Books: 2000) :: (Page count: 17)

The Progress Paradox Gregg Easterbrook (Random House: 2003) :: Chapter 2 (Page count: 44)

Break Through Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus (Mariner Books: 2007) :: Chapter 7, "Status and Security." (Page count: 30)

The History of Sexuality Michel Foucault :: Right of Death and Power over Life 135-148 (Page count: 14 pages)

Story of the Security State Nick Adams, Breakthrough Institute (Page count: 15 pages)

Total Page Count: 134 pages

-- Challenges to Modernization Theory and the Challenge of Development

We Have Never Been Modern Bruno Latour (Harvard University Press: 1991) :: Chapter 1 (Page count: 12)

Al Qaeda and What it Means to Be Modern John Gray (The New Press: 2003) Chapters 1,2, 6,7, and 8 (Page count: 77)

Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet Jeffrey Sachs (Penguin Press: 2008) :: Chapter 2, pages 17-31 (Page count: 15)

The Post-American World Fareed Zakaria (W.W. Norton: 2008) :: Chapters 1, 4, and 5 (Page count: 84)

The Bottom Billion Paul Collier (Oxford University Press: 2007) :: Chapters 1, 6, and 11 (Page count: 49)

Total Page Count: 237

Lectures: Nick Adams--Durkheim, Marx, Weber, Elias, Bourdieu, Foucault, Giddens, Inglehart

II. Social Psychology and/of American Modernity - Day 4,5

Social Space and Symbolic Power Pierre Bourdieu :: 123-139 (Page count: 16)

The Rise of the Creative Class Richard Florida (Basic Books: 2002) :: Chapters 3 (Page count: 17)

The Impact of Inequality Richard Wilkinson (New Press: 2005) :: Chapter 1-3 (Page count: 100)

Total Page Count: 133


Elsewhere USA Dalton Conley (Random House: 2009) :: Chapters 1 (19-38), 3 (67-84), Conclusion (172-190) (Page count: 54)

"Maybe Money Does Buy Happiness After All" David Leonhardt (The New York Times: April 2008) (Page count: 3)

"The Green Bubble" Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus (The New Republic: May 2009) (Page count: 3)

"Dire Messages reduce belief in Global Warming" Matthew Feinberg and Rob Willer (Page count: 6)

Break Through Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus (Mariner Books: 2007) :: Chapters 6 "Death of Environmentalism" and 8 "Status and Security." (Page count: 52)

Total Page Count: 118

III. Aspirational Philosophy and Politics - Day 6

Break Through Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus (Mariner Books: 2007) :: Chapters 9 "Pragmatism" and 10 "Greatness" (Page count: 57)

Essay on "Self Reliance" Ralph Waldo Emerson (Page count: 20)

Individualism Old and New John Dewey (Prometheus Books: 1999) :: Chapter 5, "Toward a New Individualism" (pps 37-49) and pages 81-83 of Chapter 8, "Individualism in Our Day" (Page count: 16)

Lecture: Jesse Jenkins --"The Project of Individualism" -- from the Enlightenment to a modern conception of the project of individualism, and what it implies for our political, legal and moral structures.

Total Page Count: 93

IV. Economics & Innovation Policy - Day 7

The Origin of Wealth Eric Beinhocker (Harvard Business School Press, 2006):: Chapters 1-3 (Page count: 73)

The Past & Future of America's Economy: Long Waves of Innovation that Power Cycles of Growth Robert Atkinson (Edward Elgar Publishing Inc: 2004) :: Chapters 2, 7; (Page count: 57)

"Making Washington Focus: First, Re-Educate the Economists" Robert Atkinson (Democracy Journal, Fall 2009)

"Is America Losing It's Mojo?" Fareed Zakaria (Newsweek, Fall 2009) (Page count: 4)

"Can the Future Be Built in America?" Pete Engardio (Businessweek, Fall 2009) (Page count: 4)

Building a Green Economy Breakthrough Institute Draft Concept Paper (2010) (Page count: 6)

Guest lecturer:

  • Rob Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF)--Innovation Economics and its Implications for Public Policy

Total Page Count: 93

V. Technology Policy and its Implications - Day 8

The Nature of Technology Brian Arthur (2009) Chapter 1; (Page count: 18)

"Innovation Nation" Robert Atkinson (Democracy Journal: Winter 2009) (Page count: 6)

"Case Studies in American Innovation: A New Look at Government Involvement in Technological Development." Zachary Arnold et al. (Breakthrough Institute: April 2009) :: (Page count: 29)

"A Capital Budget for Public Investment" Sherle Schwenninger (New American Foundation: 2008)

"Progress for Progressives: Technology & Effectiveness in Human Affairs" Daniel Sarewitz (Lecture in Science & Technology, Arizona State University: Sept. 2008) (Page count: 12)

Three Rules for Technological fixes Dan Sarewitz (Nature, December 2008) (Page count: 2)

"Globalization of Technology-Based Growth: The Policy Imperative" Gregory Tassey (Journal of Technology Transfer: June 2008) (Page count: 15)

Whole Earth Discipline Stewart Brand:: (VIKING: 2009) Green Genes (117-142, 152-168) (Page count: 41)

Video: Steward Brand's TED Talk

Total Page Count: 109

Guest Lecturer:

  • Dan Sarewitz, Director of the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes and Arizona State University and Breakthrough Institute Senior Fellow.

Pre-Humboldt Retreat Readings

America at the Crossroads Francis Fukuyama :: (Yale University Press: 2006) (Page count: 57)

Contradictions of Second Modernity Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus

VI. Energy & Climate Policy - Day 11, 12, and 13

"Future Global Energy Prosperity: The Terrawatt Challenge" Richard Smalley (MRS Bulletin: June 2005) (Page count: 6)

"Powering the Planet" Nate Lewis (MRS Bulletin: October 2007) (Page count: 14)

Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainties, Vaclav Smil (MIT Press: 2003) :: 4, 5; (Page count: 135)

"Renewable and Nuclear Heresies" Jesse Ausubel (Page count: 15)

The Bottomless Well: The Twilight of Fuel, the Virtue of Waste, and Why We Will Never Run Out of Energy Peter W. Huber and Mark P. Mills (Basic Books: 2005) :: Chapter 1, 2, and 3 (Page count: 57)

Total Page Count: 227


"Large Scale Deployment of Renewables for Electricity Generation" Karsten Neuhoff (Oxford Review of Economic Policy: Vol 21, No 1, 2005) (Page count: 20)

The Emerging Climate Consensus Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger (Breakthrough Institute: Spring 2009) :: in particular, "Fast, Clean & Cheap" and "Scrap Kyoto," pages 23-54 (Page count: 32)

Structuring an Energy Technology Revolution Charles Weiss and William Bonvillian (MIT Press: 2009) :: Chapters 1, 2, 3 (pages 1-55); Chapter 5, pages 127-134, Chapter 6, pages 151-154 (Page count: 67)

Total Page Count: 119


"Dangerous Assumptions" Roger Pielke Jr et al. (Nature: Vol 452, April 2008) (Page count: 2)

Whole Earth Discipline Stewart Brand :: (VIKING: 2009) New Nukes 75-116 (Page count: 42)

"The Geoengineering Option: A Last Resort Against Global Warming" David Victor (Foreign Affairs: March/April 2009) (Page count: 3)

Total Page Count: 45

Guest lecturers:

  • Roger Pielke, Jr., Professor of Political Science

  • Nate Lewis, Professor of Chemistry at the California Institute of Technology

  • Bill Bonvillian, Director of MIT's Washington D.C. Office

  • Dave Douglas, Former Chief Sustainability Officer at Sun Microsystems and Breakthrough Institutes Senior Fellow

BTI staff lectures/presentations:

  • Jesse: Energy and Power: Understanding units, scale, and conversions

  • Devon and Jesse: Asia's Rising Tigers and a strategy to secure America's clean energy competitiveness

VI. National Security and Counterterrorism

How Terrorism Ends, Audrey Kurth Cronin (Page count: 206)

Why People Obey the Law, Tom Tyler (Page count: 277)

Leaderless Jihad, Marc Sageman (Page count: 178)

Breakthrough White Paper on NSCT (Page count: 75 pages)

Violence and Social Order, Douglass North et al (Page count: 271)

Discipline and Punish, Michel Foucault :: "The Body of the Condemned" 3-29; "Panopticism" 195-227 (Page count: 58)