Oct 202011

Back in my corporate days I discovered the power of a well thought out policy paper, composing a series of articles that increased my personal stock and which were still in use years after I had moved on.

History has a list of books and essays that worked as levers to tip the balance of people’s thinking. One normally looks to academia for this kind of thinking so it is unusual to learn the source A National Strategic Narrative which is making its way to prominence.

Mr. Kunstler in his Monday morning essays often raises the possibility of a Pentagon general taking control and putting things back in order. If that happens, let’s hope it’s a general who subscribes to A National Strategic Narrative written by two thoughtful Pentagon officers as detailed in this article from Miller-McCune.

The paper  is worth reading in full for it suggests that sustainability is the key to our success as a country, an interesting point of view coming from a professional military perspective.

It’s idealistic, I suppose, to hope for such a non-partisan, detached POV. At a minimum it could provide a model for local stories that describe the future.

If Lummi Island were to write its story for the twenty-first century, what would it be?


  2 Responses to “A Story For The Twenty-first Century”

  1. Sustainability
    ….the key to our success as a country

    In a Washington Post article about Germany’s role in the European debt crisis


    it mentioned that if indeed things follow in a way that Germany prefers, the road ahead for Europe will be one “that enforces low inflation, small deficits and strict curbs on borrowing”. That sounds a lot like low growth, or even NO growth, and I believe that no growth is the only real sustainability. So is that where the world is going? Is this global financial crisis the beginning of the end of growth as we have experienced it since the industrial revolution? If Germany decides not to bail out Europe, and banks start to collapse, and a no growth policy is adopted, then the 2008 Lehman Brothers implosion would turn out to be just the first small warning wave of a much larger global finical tsunami.

    Much of Europe had already started down the path of no growth in the sentimentality of its people as evidenced by the negative population growth and low reproductive rates. If it were not for immigration to western first world countries, they might have already reached no internal growth. The problem is that the world is still growing, or at least the human population in developing and third world countries is, and the population growth in those countries is what has fueled world economic growth in the last few decades.

    In an Foreign Affairs article in 2010


    the author shows that a population boom in the developing countries will drive a demand for goods and resources that is more than the world has yet produced. Although the current world population now is less then it was predicted to be 40 years ago, the developing world population that is now reaching adulthood is starting to demand all the products of first world countries. This is what will drive any growth in the future. And whoever sells it to them will profit. The trouble is that the new rich are never conservative in their consumption, and nether will be this new population.

    Getting a stable, well educated, no population growth society to be a sustainable culture is a reasonable and achievable goal. Asking the same of people who are not seems a fools errand. Populations flow from poor countries to rich countries and therefore sustain growth in the rich countries. Lately we have seen some reverse illegal immigration, slowing of our economy, and social unrest due to lack of growth (jobs). Hell, even global warming has taken a hiatus in the last few years. So is this also the start to sustainability? A default sustainability where nature finds its balance of carrying capacity of humans? That depends largely on the new population boom and how it handles growth and consumption.

  2. Klayton,

    Here’s one possible approach to the questions you pose—http://dieoff.org/page37.htm—the concept of sustainable development rather than growth using these definitions: “To grow means “to increase naturally in size by the addition of material through assimilation or accretion.” To develop means “to expand or realize the potentialities of; to bring gradually to a fuller, greater, or better state.”

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