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Humbled Masters of the Universe

Terry Mock, SLDI Co-founder

By Terry Mock
Follow Terry on Twitter: @SustainLandDev

February 2009

Founded in 1971, the World Economic Forum meets annually in Davos, Switzerland to bring together top business and political leaders as well as intellectuals, economists, journalists, and others. Its recent 2009 meeting attracted over 2500 participants from 91 countries, including over 1170 CEOs and chairpersons from the world’s most powerful companies.

This year’s official Davos theme – “Shaping the Post-Crisis World” – might well have been – “How could the giants of capitalism have been so stupid?” For many, Davos this year was “where the pent-up dismay and anger over what Wall Street wrought boiled to the surface” despite efforts to contain it. The rock stars here this year, surrounded by adoring fans, were two economic analysts, Nouriel Roubini and Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who saw the disaster coming before most everyone else, as documented in this column previously. Implying but not naming America, China’s Wen Jiabao said the financial crisis was “attributable to inappropriate macroeconomic policies of some economies and their unsustainable model of development characterized by prolonged low savings and high consumption; excessive expansion of financial institutions in blind pursuit of profit.”

Back in the US, the news about our local leaders wasn’t any better. Time magazine profiled iconic Palm Beach County as “The New Capital of Florida Corruption” In just the past two years, four city and county commissioners have been convicted of federal corruption charges related to “pay for play” land development schemes, and a fifth could soon join the others in serving time. While in power, these public officials “alienated the general public and took a haphazard view of development — a common South Florida practice that’s indelibly tied to helping those companies and private interests that supported them.” Unfortunately, this practice is not limited to one area of the country, or one political party. According to the current Palm Beach County GOP Chairman, “I think that what everyone has realized, the general reaction is, America has a problem. We are corrupt from coast to coast and border to border.” Back room deals and corruption, perceived and real, often inhibit progress and change.

Back room deals and corruption, perceived and real, often inhibit progress and change. In a transparent and public proposal offered to President Obama’s administration, SLDI has offered a public-private partnership, its Sustainable Land Development Best Practices System, and the breadth of its research and collective knowledge to combat the country’s economic woes, enhance environmental stewardship and increase social responsibility – all at the same time.

Your participation and comments are welcome.


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