Four days at the Autodesk University in Las Vegas last week confirmed how a radical change has happened in economic development since the turn of this century. The question is whether business and national leaders will accept this new reality.
Andrew McAfee’s session at the Autodesk opening keynote illustrated the declining use of commodities by advanced nations. McAfee’s point dovetailed nicely with that of Kevin Ashton a few weeks earlier in Sydney that energy consumption of devices is falling as well.
Showcased at the conference were the new manufacturing processes, design methods and smart materials showing how we’re now in an age where increasing living standards are not coupled to rising consumption rates.
Falling use of energy and resources, even while living standards and functionality grow, is a direct contrast to the economic models of the past three hundred years where increasing affluence and quality of life meant exponentially increasing demands for energy and commodities.
This point has been missed by many businesses and policy makers, particularly in Australia where the assumption of ever increasing demands for energy has seen massive over-investment in coal and gas export facilities along with the tragic gold plating of the electricity distribution at cost that’s now crippling the nation’s industries and households.
Businesses, and nations, that haven’t recognised the trends will need admit the error, write off those costs and move onto the new model.
For voters, consumers and investors it’s time to demand leaders of business and government accept the 21st Century economic model is very different to that of the previous century.