As 2017 ends and 2018 begins, many of us reflect on the year that has past and think about the year to come. In the United States we have had a year filled with disappointment but sparked by hope.
Economic development Archives - State of the Planet
America didn’t declare independence in 1776 to hide from the world, but to establish a free society. A positive, welcoming approach to immigration is a key part of our relationship with the global economy.
Nonprofit organizations face pressures to focus spending on external operations and pull back on central administrative costs, but this emphasis can undermine the ability of the organization to effectively deliver its services. The concept of “patient capital” offers another point of view.
As important as global economic and cultural forces may be, I see the push for distinctive identity and a sense of place ensuring that communities and nation states will maintain their power in a more globally interconnected world. Part of it is expressed in Not in My Back Yard (NIMBY) local politics that resists development by local or global forces. This desire for community control of local land uses is powerful and growing.
The investment in environmental clean-up often stimulates other upgrades that enable businesses to more effectively compete in a global economy. Moreover, a clean environment reduces illness and that reduces the need for expensive health care.
Among the academics I find a mix of optimism and dire pessimism. It’s a recurring theme—can we build an economic life that can preserve the planet, or is it already too late? My responsibility is to ensure that our students hear both perspectives.
Using something finite and dumping it into a hole in the ground is less efficient and more costly than a system build on photosynthesis, renewable resources, and reuse of finite resources. In other words, an organization managed according to the principles of sustainability should be able to outcompete the organization sticking to the old, polluting 20th-century industrial model of management.
By concentrating human population in cities, we will make it possible to preserve land for wilderness, ecosystem maintenance and agriculture. People will travel to these places and will experience nature, but only a fortunate few will live close to nature.
In the process of changing the economic role of the city, we need to pay more attention to the impact of our production and consumption on the environment and on all elements of the supply chain that bring goods and services to us. Building systems that reduce environmental impacts is more important than individual consumption patterns.
The huge vertically integrated companies and large factory complexes of the 20th century have been replaced by the networked organization of the 21st. This enables more specialized and efficient production because the cost of shipping is low enough to be easily covered by the reduced costs of production. Shipping of finished products is also increasing as population and consumption increases.