Squaring the Circle

These aren’t the only issues we face right now, but the current crisis has brought these into especially sharp focus:

  • We have to live within the limits of our planetary system
  • We have to create dignified work and opportunities to contribute
  • We have to tear down decades and centuries’ worth of barriers to full participation in civic, cultural, and economic life
  • We all have to prepare ourselves and our children to handle ourselves and our responsibilities

It won’t be easy: can we embrace sane ecological limits, for example? Or persuade everyone that a way forward that includes and values many kinds of contributions from many kinds of people is not only possible but positive-sum? Can we create positive-sum inclusive growth even as we sharply reduce environmental harm?

We might lose some of the upside, but the purpose of society is not to make billionaires.

And the downside risks — of people seeing no place for themselves or their talents in the system, of environmental catastrophe, of citizens throwing away freedoms — are growing starker by the day.