A reading club with a view to the future

539 R. Buckminster Fuller: Grunch of Giants

R. Buckminster Fuller critiques the global power structures and explores the potential for a more sustainable and equitable world.



"Grunch of Giants" by R. Buckminster Fuller is a provocative analysis of the world's power structures and their impact on humanity and the environment. Fuller introduces the concept of "grunch," which stands for Gross Universal Cash Heist, referring to the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a few. He examines the systems and institutions that perpetuate this imbalance and presents alternative approaches for creating a more sustainable and just society. Fuller advocates for a comprehensive understanding of global issues, urging individuals to take responsibility and work towards creating a world that benefits all of humanity.


  1. Title: Grunch of Giants 
  2. Author: R. Buckminster Fuller 
  3. Publishing Year: 1983 
  4. Publisher: St. Martin's Press 
  5. Length in Hours: 3 hrs and 25 mins

5 main ideas

  1. The current global economic and political systems perpetuate a concentration of wealth and power, leading to social inequality and environmental degradation.
  2. The rise of multinational corporations and their influence over governments and policies.
  3. The importance of comprehensive thinking and a holistic approach to solving global problems.
  4. The need for sustainable development and the responsible management of Earth's resources.
  5. The potential for innovative technologies and design to address societal challenges and create a more equitable world.

5 funny quotes

  1. "Did you ever hear of a bum plant? A cactus? A weed? They grow, man, and nobody has to take care of them!"
  2. "Don't let schooling interfere with your education."
  3. "Nine out of ten people do not have their own ideology; they take up ideology as a woman takes up dress."
  4. "We will find neither national purpose nor personal satisfaction in an endless amassing of worldly goods."
  5. "I cannot fail to note the ironic significance that it is the earth's wealthiest nation, the United States, which has among the least constructive initiative in effecting world peace."

5 thought-provoking quotes​

  1. "The ship of state is the only known vessel that leaks from the top."
  2. "To make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone."
  3. "War is the most profitable condition of all."
  4. "Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to disperse because we've been ignorant of their value."
  5. "Either man is obsolete or war is."

5 dilemmas

  1. Balancing economic growth and environmental sustainability in a world driven by profit-oriented systems.
  2. Addressing the concentration of wealth and power while promoting social equity and justice.
  3. Navigating the tension between individual freedoms and collective responsibility in shaping a better future.
  4. Overcoming the resistance to change from established systems and institutions that benefit from the status quo.
  5. Finding alternative approaches to global governance and decision-making that prioritize the well-being of humanity and the planet.

5 examples

  1. John D. Rockefeller - The influential American business magnate and philanthropist, whose Standard Oil Company symbolized the concentration of wealth and power.
  2. General Motors - One of the prominent multinational automobile manufacturing companies, illustrating the role of large corporations in the global economy.
  3. Henry Ford - The founder of Ford Motor Company, known for his innovative production methods and influence on the automotive industry.
  4. United States Steel Corporation - A major player in the steel industry, representing the power of industrial giants in shaping the economy and society.
  5. World Bank - An international financial institution mentioned in the book, highlighting the influence of global organizations on economic policies and development.

Referenced books

  1. Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith
  2. The Power Elite by C. Wright Mills
  3. The Population Bomb by Paul R. Ehrlich
  4. The Theory of the Leisure Class by Thorstein Veblen
  5. The Limits to Growth by Donella H. Meadows, Dennis L. Meadows, Jørgen Randers, and William W. Behrens III

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"Don't let schooling interfere with your education."

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