Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Great Disruption is Here

In what could be a landmark description of what is happening, Thomas Friedman wrote a fascinating column on March 7th in which he speculates on the question:
What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession? What if it’s telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we hit the wall — when Mother Nature and the market both said: “No more.”

While this is certainly not a new theme, to see it so well expressed in a national newspaper op-ed represents a major step forward in our culture's attitude about the current situation in our society. It may be a key part of a growing rallying cry around the need for dramatic social change. He goes on to quote a number of experts, including Paul Gilding, an Australian environmental business expert, who coined a term for this period as “The Great Disruption.”

Thomas Friedman finishes by saying that both he and Paul Gilding are somewhat optimistic about our future given the changes that are starting to happen. As Gilding says, “When we look back, 2008 will be a momentous year in human history.” I'll add that in terms of a great transformation starting in 2008, let's not forget the single biggest transformative event of all that year, the November elections.

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