New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Philip Cooke, Mario Davide Parrilli and José Luis Curbelo
Chapter 18: For a Resilient, Sustainable and Creative European Economy, in What Ways is the EU Important?
Philip Cooke and Lisa De Propris 1. INTRODUCTION From a ‘resilience’ perspective a robust system is one that has the capability to withstand serious system-shock and re-stabilise itself, albeit not exactly at the same equilibrium point as the status quo before (Folke, 2006). Creative destruction is normally thought of as involving some degree of necessary hardship before a more benign regime evolves in which innovation brings increasing economic returns, and improved life conditions and living standards. Seldom has it been the case that ‘creative destructions’ are viewed from the other perspective of a failure of the innovations that may have destabilised a system to have a beneficial effect. But that position has been changing of late, especially in connection with studies by ‘apocalyptic’ geographers like Jared Diamond (2006) or former planner James Kunstler (2005) of the implications of human abuse of the environment in the form of human-induced desertification, resource over-exploitation and climate change. While Diamond (2006) sees curious parallels between the over-consumption rituals of Vikings in Greenland, Polynesians on Easter Island and modern-day farmers in Montana, Kunstler (2005) envisages planetary system-collapse induced by a ‘perfect storm’ of over-reliance on fossil fuels and associated interactions among climate change, pandemic diseases, water scarcity, desertification and industrial pollution. For both, however, it is the failure of regulation, especially in liberal market regimes stressing freedom from rather than freedom to (Bailey and de Ruyter, 2007) as an inalienable right, that caused system destabilisation. However, neither offers regulatory guidance. Kunstler retreats into a romantic...
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