This site has been making the rounds on the blogosphere, I just thought I’d link it because it’s cool stuff. Even though this company has a big vision, it also has a lot of contemporary achievements and projects, including $14 billion annual sales. Patrick Millard’s Formatting Gaia blog has a good overview of Shizmu’s visionary projects.
In Japan, it is socially acceptable for even the largest firms to be inspired by radical futuristic visions. In the USA, it’s acceptable, but mostly behind closed doors, or publicly in places like Silicon Valley. It’s politically dicey in many places, because the party line is that true positive change can only be achieved by either 1) taxing corporations to pay for need X, or 2) deregulating corporations so they can produce enough wealth so that need X is eventually filled. However, more modern politicians (Obama) have come to realize that technology, not just political or social agitation, can produce lasting positive change. Meanwhile, many Democrat and Republican politico-bots fight it out forever on TV and in the blogosphere, accomplishing relatively little, while the true gains come from technological and scientific innovation.