From Chapter Eight:
Three billion people are pounding on the gates of the global economy. Climate change and ecosystem depletion are degrading Earth’s carrying capacity and disrupting human communities, with the high potential for much greater disruption to come. We’re only about halfway through the deleveraging behind America’s shaky recovery. Americans want a new lifestyle that the suburban economy cannot deliver. And global infrastructure, systems, and supply chains are fragile, prone to shock and disruption. As we ricochet from crisis to crisis, the international order is unwinding and Americans are getting increasingly concerned, impatient, and angry.
Against this backdrop, we believe America needs a new grand strategy in which our economy does the heavy lifting to lead the global transition to sustainability.
Demographics and macroeconomics have aligned to present an economic engine that can address the nation’s needs: a game-changing, $1.3 trillion annual opportunity. Americans overwhelmingly want a new American dream that could put people and capital back to work. Cities and suburbs are rethinking what constitutes “the good life” and building walkable communities that may rebuild the social fabric. America’s farmers have the opportunity to restore the health of the planet’s life-support system, and get paid better to boot. We are witnessing the beginning of a revolution in resource productivity that can rebuild middle-class lives and wages. Capital is ready for a new investment hypothesis in America, and we can articulate a new grand bargain on oil and gas that could massively accelerate the transition of the energy system, unlocking a multihundred-billion-dollar sector without contributing to climate change.
Seems like a no-brainer. Problem, meet solution. All we need is to implement.
And there’s the rub. Who’s got this? From our experience in the military, public policy, and the business world, the answer is both simple and bleak: no one.