Think of the best party you’ve ever been to. One that pulsed with energy and interest and, at the end, left you feeling that you really should go out more or hang out with that particular group of people more often. Now, think of the beginning of that party. I suspect that the tone for the night was set from the moment you walked in the door. There would have been an energy and charisma that gave a sense of promise and anticipation that was palpable.
After 5 years of deep, depressing and divisive recession, the party is about to start again for western economies – economic growth is restarting, employment is growing, debt/GDP ratios are shrinking. Western economies are finally trending upward.
We are at a golden moment, right now, to set the tone for the next decade’s party. The next great economy we need is one that delivers prosperity more equitably and more environmentally sustainably.
There are challenges. Barrack Obama is late in his term. He was the perfect personality to launch the country in a new direction, but his timing was awful. You cannot meaningfully launch in a new direction when you are needing to respond to a crisis. Obama became a mediocre manager the times required, rather than the inspirational change agent he could have been had the circumstances been different.
Moreover, despite no meaningful progress on climate change, the world has climate change fatigue. Al Gore generated significant political space for action, but he was too late in the economic cycle to make change. The last positive economic cycle was unprecedented in its length and wealth generation, but by the time Gore captured the public attention with climate change, investment patterns had been set – it was too late to redirect to a sustainable form of growth.
Now is the time to begin a path to a sustainable economy. We know wealth is coming, but we do not have it yet. It is at these very rare moments, that we have an opportunity to dream, time to plan and do not have to give up things we already have to get there. Lets seize this moment.