The Reality of Sustainability
Jack H. Swift, Esq. - January 11, 2009
What is Sustainability?
The recent election focused upon the American voter’s dis-satisfaction with the state of our government and the state of our economy. Each campaign played upon this angst by pitching “change” but neither candidate articulated a vision of what is wrong or what might be an effective cure. The national change required is far more fundamental than anything suggested by the politicians. The problem is one of sustainability.
“Sustainability” is the great buzz word of the day. It describes a concept. In an economic context, the concept is to provide for the reliable funding of our social and economic well-being both now and in the future. In political thinking, it is a plan to provide for the continuation of our economy and government which will sustain those activities forever.
Sustainability is not a new concept. It is what conservation is all about. It first appeared in Washington politics during FDR’s administration as the concept of “sustained-yield” and was applied by law to the management of our publicly owned natural resources, most notably timber. Economically, it is a mandate that one not use more assets than one can replace and do not use at a rate faster than one can replace. It is a logical and practical approach, reflecting the essential elements of good stewardship.