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Nicole Foss on the coming global economic contraction

John Coulter

[ Ed: Nicole Foss, who recently toured Australia, made an interesting presentation to an enthusiastic audience at the Hawke Center in Adelaide on Thursday 23 February, which was co-sponsored by four organisations, including Economic Reform Australia ]

I found Nicole’s approach to the present human predicament very interesting with two points standing out more clearly than the others:

  • Humans face a number of hurdles in a quest for a more sustainable and equitable future. The first hurdle is the economic hurdle given that economies can collapse far more quickly than the other ones such as those posed by energy availability and cost. If we fail to clear the first hurdle we are out of the race toward the others.
  • Bubbles look good while they are growing and look best when they are at their maximum, but that is when they are about to burst. Australia and Canada are now sitting close to the top of their respective bubbles.

If we accept this analysis then all of us have to pay some attention to the economic bubble that is about to burst as well as the other more environmental factors which are the main concern of at least three of the organisations. One problem I have with the analysis is that I don’t see the race as a straight line race with hurdles along it. It’s a bit of a to and fro race. Nicole identified the second hurdle as the energy hurdle – availability and cost of energy. It seems to me that if we manage to clear the economic hurdle then the second hurdle with have major implications for the economy and we shall have to renegotiate the first hurdle. And so with all the factors impacting human social survival and welfare.

In my view we need a very comprehensive understanding of all these factors, how they interact and how we can best manage that complex interaction.

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