Economic crisis or New economy?
This is a guest post from João Guilherme Lacerda, of the NGO “Transporte Ativo”.
The english industrial production created a New Global Order. The factories and the smoke represented the new, the richness, the commercial expansion. During the whole XIX century and most of the XX century, the prevailing belief was that progress was only possible through production and industrialized products. It meant heavy machinery and growing demand for energy.
The XXI century began in the middle of a growing paradigm. Instead of a production line, the best thing for the economy is a web of many connections and diverse values. Fritjof Capra wrote “The Web of Life”, and apparently even the journalists of the weekly newspaper “The Economist” are already fluent in the thoughts of this major sustainability philosopher.
A recent edition of the newspaper talked about the collapse of manufactures. On the other hand, you don’t need to read the article to realize the crisis of global finances and, especially, the factory problems. Yards full of automobiles which are not being sold, the fear of General Motors bankruptcy in the United States. Mass layoffs at Embraer in Brazil.
In the name of the supposed preservation of millions of jobs and global economy survival, industries demand a bigger help from governments. GM already received more then 13 billion dollars and needs more. On the other hand, to whom is it relevant to keep alive companies that have developed in detriment to social, environmental and economical welfare?
This is the perfect scenario for the growth of a New Economical Order. Instead of Henry Ford type production line, the global economy needs to form and reinforce business networks. The XX century industrial model of programmed obsolescence served its purpose of expanding global economy. But at the same time, it is today a dinosaur, inadequate to the values of environmental and social sustainability.
Manufacturing goods has stopped being a priority long ago, with more and more of the production being outsourced to countries with cheaper work-force. The most valuable thing in the economy of the 20th century are Brands. But they’ll only survive if they become something more than nice logos stamped in disposable products, or things that are way too expensive for what they offer.
Picture Picture courtesy of GuiC1 via Flickr.