2012 and the Brink of Destruction: Answering the Sustainability Question for America

 While on vacation on the Gulf of Mexico, I decided to take an early morning swim alone. I marveled at the white sand and the tranquility of my surroundings. However, I did not see the danger.  Several days earlier I had walked out to a sand bar several yards away from the shore.  That day I found myself being adventurous by going further out.  I swam to the side of the sand bar and found myself in danger.  Luckily, an experienced swimmer saved me that day. Likewise, America is in danger…but some don’t know it.

Global trends make sustainability a difficult objective for most organizations. The year 2011 was a vintage time for massive protesters, from the awakening of the Arab world to the defeat of evil tyrants. Europe struggled to maintain financial stability while country after country faltered.  Japan suffered its biggest nuclear catastrophe. 

Even a Super Power like America has not been exempted from this financial crisis. The United States economy struggles along with its 15 trillion dollar national debt and a 9% unemployment rate choking the country.  With political gridlock happening on a regular basis, members of Congress, President Obama, media outlets, and frustrated constituents worry about the plight about the country.  Standard & Poor’s downgrading of America’s AAA rating for the first time in history was a quick wake up call to everyone. 

 Last year, big financial institutions such as Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase & Company announced that approximately 75,000 employees would be laid off.  Political groups, like the Tea Party Movement, attempted to challenge the political establishment with a return to fiscal responsibility of America’s debt.  Occupy Wall Street protesters attacked corporate greed and corruption as the catalysis for income inequity and employment opportunities.

Sustainability is important but often difficult to define. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines the term as “everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment.”  One simple definition is the ability to use resources continuously without any long-term depletion.  There aren’t many things that are possible to be sustained without proper planning.

Discuss the ramifications of any negative consequences. 

© 2012 by Daryl D. Green




10 thoughts on “2012 and the Brink of Destruction: Answering the Sustainability Question for America

  1. A simple definition of sustainability is the capacity to endure (Sustainability, 2010). That is a very simple but true definition. If you put the above definition with the way that our federal government runs and operates it is easy to determine that our society, government, and country cannot endure without monumental changes. Government must be looked at with a business mindset. Businesses cannot spend more than they bring in because of consequences they will endure. The same goes for the government. Our country is dependent on the Chinese to lend us money to help pay for our financial irresponsibility. At some point China will say no and then change will happen drastically. Our government and way of life is not built for drastic change and would be very difficult for today’s society to endure and adjust. American society, and the federal government, is a very large consumption machine. Without finding a way to renew the products and services that Americans are consuming there is no chance for sustainability. The federal government must take a hard look at its fiscal policies, foreign policy, and entitlements and corral the uncontrollable debt that the United States has accumulated in order to sustain.

    Sustainability: Can our society endure?. (2010). Retrieved from http://www.sustainability.com/sustainability

    • Chris,

      Excellent observation! You discussed America’s current financial trouble (i.e. debt).

      I agree with your analysis. We are in trouble.

      With that said, can you point to another country that is doing better with its economic situation and with as much upside as America? Europe? Asia? Latin America?

      Professor Green

      • With regards to your question, China is the country that is doing very well in the financial department. China currently owns $1.15 trillion dollars in US debt and is the leading debt holder of America. It is important to point out that China is still running at a deficit of $126 billion dollars. Knowing the deficit shortfall China is planning a proactive fiscal policy for 2012 (Economictimes, 2011). All that aside, it is imperative to know that China is now outsourcing work to countries like Vietnam. China is now dealing with their own sustainability issues. I learned in Dr. Thompson class that China is outsourcing chop sticks to a company in Atlanta, GA because China does not have the resources needed to produce such an important item in their culture. Even through the sustainability issues, budget deficit, and communism China is still thriving. They have just pledged $40 million dollars to the IMF, global presence is rising, and military capability is growing faster than any other country in the world. China is setting themselves up to be a superpower alongside America and Russia.

        China aims for 800bn yuan 2012 budget deficit. (2011, December 26). Retrieved from http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-12-26/news/30559073_1_yuan-fiscal-deficit-proactive-fiscal-policy

  2. According to the article you posted China is producing absurd numbers. This may very well be true but it is important to know that statistics can vary. China may not be using what we would call a correct sample size. They may not even be reporting exact numbers. Just from the outside looking in something positive is happening within China. Look at the number of cell phone users in China, 900 million mobile phone users (China approaches 900, 2011). If China’s economy wasn’t growing, reducing the gap of inequality in social classes, and producing jobs for their population this number would not be growing. I’ll admit China has its problems but China is invested wisely in the US debt, building infrastructure, and increasing the standard of living for its people.

    China approaches 900 million mobile phone users. (2011, April 25). Retrieved from http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/226159/china_approaches_900_million_mobile_phone_users.html

  3. After reading the textbook for this course, “Essentials of Strategic Management: The Quest for Competitive Advantage,” I begin to wonder to what degree of business strategy and management study towards competitive sustainability is being utilized in the creation of legislature and programs to turn the American economy around. The economy has improved, economists say, however it seems that the big issue today is getting American workers back to work. The unemployment rate has remained stubbornly high since the depression (Unemployment, 2012) and It has been difficult for many citizens to remain employed or find new employment because they do not have a sustainable competitive advantage in their own work skills. For example, older employees out of the job force face the challenge and learning curve of updating their technical knowledge base to be current with newer technologies. As our leaders continue to find solutions and innovations to improve the US economic situation, employees are also forced to keep up so they are not left behind.

    Unemployment claims tick up again
    (2012, January 12.) Retrieved from

    Unemployment – Where does your state rank? CNN Money

  4. I¡¦m now not certain exactly where you’re getting your details, nevertheless wonderful subject. I must spend some time locating out far more or understanding a lot more. Thanks for excellent info I used to be on the lookout for this info for my mission.

    • Bryon,

      Thanks for your feedback. You asked about my sources. Please see below.

      Hope to see more of your insight to our discussion.

      Dr. Daryl Green

      Anatomy of a Trend by Henrik Vejlgaard

      “Minimum wage could rise this year” by Paul Davidson

      New Guide to Financial Independence by Charles Schwab

      “Report: Europe needs $1.3 T bailout fund” by USA Today

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