Zero growth, perhaps time for a rethink!

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We are facing a time of “zero growth” we are told!  The Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan fronted the TV audience from New York and announced that growth in the major western markets was stalling.  Aha!  I thought!  Could it be that the world financial crisis might lead to even a modest return to the ‘basics’, to people focusing on being sustainable rather than always wanting to grow!  Our entire financial system is based on this premise of growth, and when thing slow down it sends us all into a tail-spin!  But, what if there were another way?  What if we could re-engineer our systems to focus on sustainability on all fronts – environmental, financial, social, political and technical – with a view to preserving what we have rather than building on unstable foundations only to have the house of cards fall down – again and again!

Governments are responding to this crisis much more quickly than they have done in previous years, and, they say, Australia is well positioned because of the regulation of our financial sector.  But, none of us are immune.  People are still considering putting their money under their beds even though the Government has now guaranteed all deposits in Australian banks and institutions for the next 3 years.  Panic is everywhere – it is spreading like a contagion and the more it spreads the more it feeds upon itself.  The greedy and the vultures are out to sniff a bargain – especially in Iceland so I’m told!

So, as Wright says, each time history repeats itself the price goes up … what will the price be this time?  Or could it be that we might, for a change, look to the root cause of the problems and apply our intelligence on all fronts to prevention rather than cure.

As they say, we do live in interesting times.