From Crisis To Opportunity

<p>The present crisis in the world financial markets has shown that we have built our economies on a foundation of monetary sand and that when it is met by a hurricane then those foundations shake. Essentially the weak foundation has been that of greed and the dubious pleasure of instant gratification at the expense of our planet and our long-term security.<br /> <br /> This crisis should now give us time to reassess and attempt to create an economic system that is sustainable. The culture of credit, unregulated lending, share options and large bonuses with minimal regulation has produced confetti economies that relate only in fantasy to the real world of resources and actuality. Well that is the hope anyway that reassessment can take place!<br /> <br /> In the last few years we have seen a crisis of resources as oil peaked, food became more expensive, water became scarce and our climate warmed up. This should have been enough to reshape our attitudes and push us into creating a world based on actual needs rather than unlimited growth and wealth. However the last 20 or 30 years has seen a world build up where personal gain is what has been valued and both companies and individuals were determined to maximise their gain or profit. The rational cold water that poured on us from environmental and resource crises was not enough to dent the dream that countless wealth was possible and that it would trickle down from the wealthy to the poor.<br /> <br /> It needed more to bring us to our senses and now maybe now for the first time the culture shock has hit us that we are living in a finite world. The financial crisis more than climate change, resource depletion or international security has impacted on so many people. For a moment they could see the whole economic edifice come tumbling down and their homes, jobs and pensions all at risk. Nothing is more galvanising than events to make a sea change in how we view the world. <br /> <br /> If this crisis can make people think that in our planet we must live within our means then there is hope; and there is hope. Today we see one of the largest social movements the world has ever seen. The last few decades has seen a huge growth of groups globally concerned with the environment and social justice and at the same time there has also been a flowering of social businesses where there is as strong a motive to do good and not merely to maximise a profit. Together this is probably the biggest grassroots movement the world has ever seen. The world is changing and if we can take advantage of a crisis to make this socially concerned social movement become ever more mainstream then the world can build itself again on stronger foundations. <br /> <br /> That is the task of sites like JustMeans and my own group 21st Century Network &ndash; to help build a movement that promotes a sustainable future and strengthen it so that we can all live without fear. Out of failure comes success and out of a crisis there are signs of a future. We must make sure that is true and positively work towards it.</p>