Comparative Resilience: 8 Principles for Post-COVID Reconstruction
Once the dust settles from the COVID-19 crisis, communities across the world will find their economies shattered—in part because we uncritically followed the ideas of David Ricardo over the past two centuries. Restaurants, retailers, theaters, service providers of every stripe, even physician practices will be seeking bankruptcy protection by the millions. After the trillions in federal assistance run out, we will all be looking for ways to rebuild our economic lives. As we do so, we will need a new set of principles and practices of economic development that do not leave us sitting ducks for the next crisis.
For an idea of what should come next, I dusted off my copy of Brittle Power: Energy Strategy for National Security, written by Amory and Hunter Lovins in 1982. That book was mostly about the huge vulnerabilities in the U.S. energy grid, but it was really about economic design. Chapter 1 begins: “The United States has reached the point where: a few people could probably black out most of the country; a small group could shut off three-fourths of the natural gas to the eastern U.S. in one evening without leaving Louisiana;…a few people (perhaps just one person) could release enough radioactivity to make much of U.S. uninhabitable….”