It’s dangerous for you to be here

Some thread-pulling on my part to weave together the thoughts whirling around in my head.

In the movie “My Blue Heaven,” Steve Martin’s character (Vinnie) says to Shaldeen (Carol Kane):

“You know, it’s dangerous for you to be here in the frozen food section.”

Shaldeen: Why is that?

Vinnie: Because you could melt all this stuff.

Today at TED, there’s been a lot of chatter today about Ray Anderson’s talk which was summarized (and prominently “Re-tweeted”) by Tim O’Reilly: “The new civilization = more happiness with less stuff.” (I’m not at TED and I haven’t seen the talk, so this whole post could be grabbing at straws imitating thread-pulling)

More with less.

John Sterman, head of MIT Sloan’s System Dynamics Group, explores how to get people to think for real on sustainability saying: “As long as everybody in the world wants more, there’s no solution.”

Sterman’s take on “more with less” is a systems outlook—Jay Forrester, the father of system dynamics has somethings to say about this too. He speaks in this interview with MIT Sloan Management Review’s Michael Hopkins about “opportunities to begin to operate at the no-growth….”

In an excerpt from Art Klein’s book “Age of Heritics,” Dana Meadows, Sterman’s Mentor and Forrester’s student, concludes with this: “What we are growing for? For whom? For how long? And at what cost?” — in 1971!

So my question is, how do we responsibly encourage global development and raise the living standard for billions of people? How do we prevent the meltdown(s)?

What is the right balance of “more with less?” What aisle should we be in?

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