Sunday, March 15, 2009

sea change?

Someone asked me the other day if I see signs that a sea change is in fact underway in the US. I said I am looking for two things to suggest we might be starting such a change. The first is repeated challenges by mainstream voices to the assumption that we can or should revive an economic system based on growth. I didn't expect such a challenge to come from _The World is Flat_ author and NYT columnist Thomas Friedman. I remember reading that book thinking he had yet to connect all the dots. Looks like he's starting to.
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.”
Read the whole thing here.

The second is a level of frustration with the current paradigm spilling over from the public and their blogosphere into mainstream media. John Stewart's complete dismantling of Jim Cramer the other night certainly fits the bill. If you haven't watched it I would burn 15 minutes and check it out. It's likely to end up as one of those markers used to signal the end of an era looking back. Mainstream newz coverage, when they have covered the Stewart/Cramer interview, has tended to talk about how 'they' got the economic story wrong over the past few years wrong, meaning CNBC or anyone else. I have yet to hear any mainstream source of newz take responsibility and talk about how 'we' got it wrong. So reality has yet to sink in but Stewart has tapped into something and he likely knows it. As others have said, how interesting that it took a fake news show to really get to the heart of the matter.

I'm not suggesting pigs are sprouting wings, just that I'll have to be more careful about what I suggest are harbingers of change. Or I'll have to admit that the religious worship of growth progress might be missing more members going forward.

No comments: