On Election Day: Balance in Contentious Times

Terry Mock, SLDI Co-founder

By Terry Mock
Follow Terry on Twitter: @SustainLandDev

November 2008

In what surely will be noted as one of the most remarkable stretches in history, we have had a collapse in the housing market, which triggered a meltdown in our financial systems, which has now created a slowdown in economies around the world — all in short order. With all these financial woes weighing on investor confidence, I couldn’t help thinking of what President Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:

“I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation and then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all their property until their children will wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.”

Fast forward to 2008, specifically to former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s recent testimony to a House Oversight Committee hearing on the roles and responsibilities of federal regulators in the current financial crisis. He acknowledged to the hostile panel of questioners that the crisis exposed flaws in his thinking about the working of the free market system, telling the Committee that his belief that the banks would be more prudent in their lending practices because of the need to protect their shareholders had been proven wrong by the crisis.

This “once-in-a-century credit tsunami” has come to a head just weeks before the electorate goes to the polls to pick both local candidates for office and a new president. Whichever party wins will make history as well. The barrage of extraordinary events makes for fascinating times and presents a rare opportunity for strategic long term investment, according to seasoned experts such as Warren Buffett. But politically, it can be treacherous sledding, as personal angst and partisan fervor are unleashed full blast. In his Farewell Address, George Washington was particularly adamant in warning the nation that this “spirit of party” was “not to be encouraged” because it was – “A fire not to be quenched, it demands a uniform vigilance to prevent its bursting into a flame, lest, instead of warming, it should consume.”

T. Boone Pickens, Al Gore and the Sierra Club are creating strange bedfellows and setting an example of non-partisan collaboration by discussing the combination of domestic wind power and natural gas in an aggressive US domestic energy plan. In a related effort to provide a bridge from the current inefficient, carbon-heavy electric grid toward more sustainable development, SLDI-member HBH Gas Systems is partnering with land developers nationwide to provide central community propane gas systems – bringing clean-burning gas fuel to communities where it was otherwise not available.

Innovative collaboration is the answer. See the featured article below on the SLDI Pilot Sustainable Land Development Best Practices Model.

Your participation and comments are welcome.

Sustainable Land Development Initiative

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The 21st century will overturn many of our previously-held assumptions about civilization. The challenges and opportunities land development stakeholders now face – to fulfill the needs of society and achieve a favorable return on investment without harming the environment – have vast implications on the sustainability of our communities around the world.

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SLDI Co-founders:
Terry Mock
Tony Wernke

Read The Fractal Frontier - Sustainable Development Trilogy.
Read Developing a Sustainable Endgame for the Global Economy
See history and evolution of SLDI @ SLDI Foundational Articles