“This economic crisis doesn’t represent a cycle. It represents a reset. It’s an emotional, raw social, economic reset. People who understand that will prosper. Those who don’t will be left behind” — Jeffery Immelt, CEO, General Electric
In his latest book, “The Great Reset,” Dr. Richard Florida, author of “The Rise of the Creative Class” and “Who’s Your City?” examines the impact of the recent economic meltdown on how we will work and live over the next generation. Florida argues that the prolonged recession of the 1880s – 1890s and the Great Depression of the 1930s led to economic resets and bursts of innovation that fundamentally changed the way we worked and lived, and that we are entering another reset period.
His analysis of the impact of the current recession is that the current economic reset will move us away from boom and bust cycles based on energy, automobiles and real estate. He concludes that the following patterns will take hold as we move through this economic reset period:
- New patterns of consumption and new attitudes toward ownership that are less centered on houses and cars
- The transformation of millions of service jobs into middle-class careers that engage workers as a source of innovation
- New forms of infrastructure that will speed the movement of people, goods and ideas
- A radically altered and much denser economic landscape organized around “megaregions” that will drive the development of new industries, new jobs and a whole new way of life.
One can certainly debate whether or not Dr. Florida is correct in his forecast of these new patterns. But, if he’s close to the mark, the world of the EHS manager will look vastly different than it does today.
How will we approach workplace safety in a world where service people and assembly line workers evolve into career professionals who add value to products and services? What will be the impact on environmental protection as people shift away from consuming goods to consuming services and auto travel gives way to mass transit and other alternative methods of transportation?
What changes do you foresee for EHS professionals if these patterns emerge?
I would especially be interested in the perspective of The Millennial Generation and Gen X, since you will spend your careers living The Great Reset.