After a summer of touring and lecturing on matters of Sustainability it’s time to catch up with developments.
‘The Economy’ in Britain has perfected a condition of morbid hesitation . No clear direction of recovery exists on the High Street and no air of confidence abounds.
Historically periods of indecision provide economic and political vacuum, which in turn create opportunities for the engaged and creative.
Avoiding the obvious analysis of the ‘Coalition Government’ as it prepares to ignore all Keynesian perspectives that would encourage nurturing a recession hit economy, we stand at the dawn of greater uncertainty than most commentators can recall.
Taking the route that uncertainty becomes the very moment to seize the opportunity for addressing issues of sustainable change , it is sad to witness the opposing argument that protests we should not take risks now but rather pursue the same discredited policies that brought the world to the current crisis.
Change might be threatening , but we cannot hope to progress to more sustainable circumstances without understanding the reasons for change and to comprehend that the old world is gone for ever.
We exist in a global economy dominated by stronger nations competing for the same resources and with more ability to purchase and strategically secure those vital materials.
Whilst we spent two decades boasting the prowess of our ability as a service economy the financial sector in the City of London carried the day, we moved away from our traditional skill base as manufacturers. It is inconceivable to contemplate a return to the dark satanic mills style of industrialisation , but we need to find away of making goods that add value beyond revolving paper money in ever-increasing complex casino exercises. Derivatives and reinsurance that few understand and Governments can’t regulate do not have the substance to secure economic stability.
We need to reorganise as the world’s fourth largest economy and rediscover making goods. Remanufacturing of sustainable products should be a central element in this new economy. James Hurley ,my colleague at MascoWalcot speaks of ReVictorianisation on the basis that we gained pre-eminence as an economic force by designing and building for the needs of the world and should do so again.
To find this challenge too daunting or regard such ideas as preposterously unrealistic is tantamount to conceding defeat and inevitable decline to third world status.
Surely it is a vanity to find any problem too difficult to pursue when the majority of the world’s population have to confront the same issues , without our material and educational advantages.
We need to vigorously encourage and invest in sustainable industries , which must be linked to the promotion of our universities and further research. Our schools and higher education institutions need to generate and train a generation of skilled workers who can deliver these new manufacturing techniques and products.
Any policy will flounder if the skills are deficient , this is a great opportunity to retrain a generation to fulfill the new employment that will follow.
Change itself will be the subject of several blogs to follow, but I take this occasion to suggest that , had the Georgians decreed and been able to enforce a moratorium of activity upon the Victorians we would not have enjoyed the considerable benefits of the twentieth century.
Without preparedness to change in a radical manner now we are in danger of dictating a conditionality that will not enable our ability to survive the twenty-first century.