Paul Shrivastava and Matt Statler
When we began this project, we fully intended to arrive at a series of firm conclusions about how to resolve the financial crisis by building sustainable, creative, and reliable organizations and economies. We have been humbled by a journey that has opened up more questions than it has answered. Many of the chapters have laid bare the false assumptions of traditional finance and management theories and practices, and some have offered pathways for creating alternatives. Collectively, the chapters open up alternative visions of how the postcrisis recovery might unfold—and yet many questions remain unanswered.
At least this much seems clear: the global financial system cannot sustain unfettered growth due to constraints that ultimately are ecological. For some people, this conclusion may recommend slow growth or low growth; for others, it calls for no growth or contraction. In any case, economies will need to be managed within the constraints of changing climate, declining biodiversity, and eroding ecological conditions. Under such circumstances, a successful recovery cannot occur without human creativity—including aesthetic perceptions and judgments of fit, appropriateness, and beauty—and a focus on reliability and resilience that can sustain organization forms and economic relations even in the face of extreme uncertainty.
Despite the hopeful message of the chapters in this book, our own observations about the reality that we are living with are rather sobering. First, all the major economies of the world are scrambling to stem the damages of the financial crisis. Yet nearly three years on, the largest economy (United