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Quality of Life

But, as we enter a new century, there are growing questions concerning the sustainability of the American economic engine of growth. Growing evidence of air and water pollution during the 1960s raised questions concerning the inherent negative environmental impacts of the industrial paradigm of economic development. The energy crisis of the 1970s raised concerns about the extractive nature of the “free market” economy, and its inherent reliance on limited supplies of non-renewable resources.

A return to the “economics of greed” during the 1980s raised concerns about the growing economic gap between the “haves and have-nots.” And, when the “economic bubble” of the 1990s burst at the turn of the century, many more people began to question whether America’s economic growth is sustainable.

Until now, the environment has been the focus of primary concern for sustainability. Relentless economic growth was depleting non-renewable resources and polluting the natural environment. Today, there are growing questions of social and cultural sustainability. Our relentless pursuit of economic prosperity is separating people within families, communities, and society as a whole and is destroying the social fabric of our country.

In our quest for global economic supremacy, the United States has become a splintered nation of disconnected people. The American economy may be the envy of the rest of the world, but few would choose the American social culture, without strong economic incentives to do so.

We live in an increasingly unhealthy society. The health of any society is reflected in the quality of relationships among its people--within families, communities, and society in general. And, during the latter half of the 20th century, American society has become increasingly disconnected, our relationships have become increasingly unhealthy and dysfunctional, and there is growing evidence that we live in an unsustainable society.

 

New American Food System, Part 1

The New American Food System, Part 1

By John Ikerd, PhD, Professor Emeritus, University of Missouri
Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation--Health & Healing Wisdom, Vol.27 #3

The 20th century was the American Century--as is commonly conceded by historians. During the 20th century, the United States replaced Great Britain as the dominant global economic power, and America’s corporate version of capitalism replaced socialism and competitive capitalism as the world’s dominant economic model.

The United States came from behind to beat the Soviet Union to the moon and take leadership in space. The United States came from behind to pull ahead of Japan in electronics and communications technologies. And, America replaced the whole of Europe as the single dominant global military power.

The American Century was a time during which economics gained precedents over all else--including politics, society, and culture. America struggled economically, along with the rest of the world, during much of the first half of the century. But, America built the foundation for its modern industrial economy during World War II, used its post-war economy to help Europe and Japan rebuild, but afterward, never looked back.

America’s desire for maximum economic growth provided the motive for its unrestrained “corporatist” economy, which later became the model for much of the rest of the world. Research and development supported by economic growth allowed America to take world leadership in space and electronics. And, economic growth made possible the most powerful and dominant military force ever assembled in the history of humanity.

A New Century, A Need for New Direction

But, as we enter a new century, there are growing questions concerning the sustainability of the American economic engine of growth. Growing evidence of air and water pollution during the 1960s raised questions concerning the inherent negative environmental impacts of the industrial paradigm of economic development. The energy crisis of the 1970s raised concerns about the extractive nature of the “free market” economy, and its inherent reliance on limited supplies of non-renewable resources.

A return to the “economics of greed” during the 1980s raised concerns about the growing economic gap between the “haves and have-nots.” And, when the “economic bubble” of the 1990s burst at the turn of the century, many more people began to question whether America’s economic growth is sustainable.

Until now, the environment has been the focus of primary concern for sustainability. Relentless economic growth was depleting non-renewable resources and polluting the natural environment. Today, there are growing questions of social and cultural sustainability. Our relentless pursuit of economic prosperity is separating people within families, communities, and society as a whole and is destroying the social fabric of our country.

In our quest for global economic supremacy, the United States has become a splintered nation of disconnected people. The American economy may be the envy of the rest of the world, but few would choose the American social culture, without strong economic incentives to do so.

We live in an increasingly unhealthy society. The health of any society is reflected in the quality of relationships among its people--within families, communities, and society in general. And, during the latter half of the 20th century, American society has become increasingly disconnected, our relationships have become increasingly unhealthy and dysfunctional, and there is growing evidence that we live in an unsustainable society.