By Terry Mock
Follow Terry on Twitter: @SustainLandDev
As previously forecast in this column, a series of financial “Black Swans” is now upon us. These major disruptive events, which by definition were unpredicted by the establishment experts, now include the failures of Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, Merrill Lynch, Wachovia, and Washington Mutual, with more surprises undoubtedly on the way.
While there have been numerous authorities working day and night to solve the problem, it is important to note that these same people were the ones that were managing the financial system in the first place. According to Professor Nouriel Roubini, no professional independent economist was consulted by Congress or invited to present his/her views at the Congressional hearings on the Treasury Department’s rescue plan. This brings to mind some words of wisdom from Albert Einstein – “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”.
As pointed out in the recently published book, Bad Money – Reckless Finance, Failed Politics and the Global Crisis of American Capitalism, the failure of the current financial system was not only predictable, but this same kind of thinking was also responsible for the fall of the last two global economic powers – the Netherlands followed by Britain. As is established in the book and elsewhere, the current credit crisis interrelates with our energy crisis and all the other economic failures the global economy is now suffering through. It all comes down to deficit spending by both public and private entities.
Ironically, the current financial meltdown is confirmation of a prediction made in 1995 when, as a land developer and the past-president of the Florida Native Plant Society, I authored an article entitled “Earth Restoration – The Bridge to a New Global Culture“, wherein I said, “The existing world order is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy and will not be capable of sustaining itself much longer by exploiting dwindling world supplies of natural resources and by deficit government spending…The good news is that out of these huge problems will come the pressure to replace our old system with new political and business structures that will provide for a sustainable global economy”.
How do we make our civilization more sustainable?
As outlined in our February 2008 SLDI newsletter, “Collaborative innovation is needed to unlock the future as the world is facing a variety of challenges”, and current efforts to create new sustainable land development models hold great promise for breaking the hold of failed outdated economic ideology. According to CityscapeIntelligence, “… One of the greatest challenges is that right now we have a very low level of current knowledge about how to build sustainably in our (Middle Eastern) environment… “ On a more promising note, Cityscape reports that Masdar City, Abu Dhabi is planned to be a fully sustainable city which incorporates the highest quality of life with the lowest environmental footprint. Masdar City will be carbon-neutral, use only renewable energy sources, and produce zero waste.
In the United States, news of the nation’s first fully eco-sustainable city has just been announced. At 41,300 acres and a new SLDI member, Florida’s Destiny is ranked as one of the state’s largest private land acquisitions and will create working greenspace where the ecosystem is integrated into its infrastructure in order to preserve the overall quality of the environment.
The problems – and answers – have been known for many years. It will ultimately be the visionary risk-taking land developers, the business structures we organize, the innovative technologies we use, and the quality of services we retain, that will get us there.
Your participation and comments are welcome.