Sunday, March 08, 2009

"When Mother Nature and the Market both said: 'No More.'" - Excerpts from Thomas Friedman's NY Times Column


"Preach it!" That's what I want to say loudly to Thomas Friedman today, in response to his column, "The Inflection is Near?" Friedman is funny, asking critical questions, and presenting his readers with promising answers - from a realistic, but optimistic point of view. Thank you! Here are my favorite lines. Let me know what you think.

To see the entire article, click here.

Let’s today step out of the normal boundaries of analysis of our economic crisis and ask a radical question: What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession? What if it’s telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we hit the wall — when Mother Nature and the market both said: “No more.”

We have created a system for growth that depended on our building more and more stores to sell more and more stuff made in more and more factories in China, powered by more and more coal that would cause more and more climate change but earn China more and more dollars to buy more and more U.S. T-bills so America would have more and more money to build more and more stores and sell more and more stuff that would employ more and more Chinese ...

We can’t do this anymore. We have not generated real wealth, and we are destroying a livable climate ...’ Real wealth is something you can pass on in a way that others can enjoy.” Over a billion people today suffer from water scarcity; deforestation in the tropics destroys an area the size of Greece every year.

We are taking a system operating past its capacity and driving it faster and harder,” he wrote me. “No matter how wonderful the system is, the laws of physics and biology still apply.”


Let’s grow by creating flows rather than plundering more stocks.


Germany, Britain, China and the U.S. have all used stimulus bills to make huge new investments in clean power. South Korea’s new national paradigm for development is called: “Low carbon, green growth.” Who knew? People are realizing we need more than incremental changes — and we’re seeing the first stirrings of growth in smarter, more efficient, more responsible ways.


Often in the middle of something momentous, we can’t see its significance. But for me there is no doubt: 2008 will be the marker — the year when ‘The Great Disruption’ began.

1 comment:

Melis Arik said...

Well, I am glad that someone famous that gets his stories published in the NYT is finally CHANNELING ** ME**!

As I have said many times over the past few months, it is a sad state of affairs when an entire US (and world) economy depends upon more and more people buying more and more crap that is just going to end up in a landfill. Of course it is going to crash!! It would be a miracle if an economic system as unsustainable as ours in so many ways DIDN"T crash!

Thanks for sharing,

Melis