Graphic: The Recession is over (NEWSWEEK, Aug 15, 2009)
I sometimes feel as if I’m just one of a few people in the world that think it unfortunate that for now, the global recession appears to be all but over. Here in New Zealand, the recession seems to have come and gone with barely a whimper.
I had predicted that this year would be one of economic and ecological turbulence (especially with the twin impacts of global market-failure and peak oil). Huge tax-payer funded bailouts of the market and Asian economic growth have saved the day – for now.
I didn’t need to be right. Nor did I want people to suffer. It was indeed a concern about economic and ecological breakdown causing suffering that motivated me to look at amenities and processes that could support sustainable and flourishing futures in an era of limited material resources.
The reason I think it a pity the recession cloud seems to have passed is that when people thought the recession would be serious and on-going they began to talk openly and realistically about elephants in the room, such as spiralling personal and national debt, realising we can’t keep on borrowing indefinitely and realising also that we can’t continue to use finite resources at the rate we are using them.
For a short while, it seemed there was interest in ideas – even ideas that seemed a bit wacky – for new ways to create enduring future wellbeing – including recognising and tapping into resources that are infinite.
Now that it seems as if there are no major problems after all, so there is no need to change, and no need for new ideas. Does anyone else agree it’s a pity that many seem to have flicked back to the same ways of thinking and acting which got us into a mess – and will, I think, get us into a deeper one?