I very much appreciate the thinking and writing of Jamais Cascio, so I enjoy seeing how he frames ideas like resilience, as he has just done in his new column for Fast Company magazine. Since my own ideas can’t be validated by hindsight (great foresight, Cliff!), I can take some comfort in having them validated by a guy who gets invited to speak all over the place.
Here is a nice essay Jamais wrote, titled Resilience Economics, in which he adopts the “look back” perspective of someone living in the late 2020’s, looking back on 20 years of transformed, more transparent capitalism, “decentralized diversity,” and new models for looking ahead at the future to avoid big surprises.
Here are Jamais’s words as he quoted his own column on his blog, “Open the Future.”
One reason why the idea of resilience resonates with those of us engaged in foresight work is that, as troubling as it may be to contemplate, the current massive economic downturn is likely to be neither the only nor the biggest crisis we face over the next few decades. The need to shift quickly away from fossil fuels (for both environmental and supply reasons) may be as big a shock as today’s “econalypse,” and could easily be compounded by accelerating problems caused by global warming. Demographic issues–aging populations, migrants and refugees, and changing regional ethnic make-ups–loom large around the world, notably in China. Pandemics, resource collapse, even radically disruptive technologies all have the potential to cause global shake-ups on the scale of what we see today… and we may see all of these, and more, over the next 20 to 30 years.
I agree totally with what he writes, but would only add that the social adjustments we make in our local communities will prove to be the big difference makers when the impacts of problems and issues. As hard as it may be to wrap our minds around such global shake-ups, it’s not that much of a stretch to think about getting more familiar and cooperative with the people in towns where we live.