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Ordinary folk change world

EXACTLY 30 years ago, Alvin Toffler snapped a lot of sleepy brains awake by publishing Future Shock - the first thorough social analysis of accelerated change.

Alvin Toffler, in BUSINESS2.0 magazine (September 26) noted how business is still in shock:

“There is a slightly odd notion in business today that things are moving so fast that strategy becomes an obsolete idea. That all you need is to be flexible or adaptable. This is a mistake. You cannot substitute agility for strategy. If you do not develop a strategy of your own, you become a part of someone else’s strategy. You, in fact, become reactive to external circumstances. The absence of strategy is fine if you don’t care where you’re going.”

A quick glance at our major economic players suggests they have no idea where they are going and who cares anyway as long as there are big profits today.

Our agribusiness seems to continue two myths: as the historical backbone of the Aussie economy, agribusiness is immortal and does not need long-term strategies; or perhaps even more blinkered, science knows more than Mother Nature so biotech will take care of our agribusiness future.

Meanwhile, people around the world – just ordinary folk – are changing their values and attitudes real fast. They care where we are going.

As the genetically modified food industry is discovering (BBC doco, SBS December 26), public attitudes cannot be manipulated into accepting short-term gains over long-term risks. In British supermarkets one year ago there were more than 2000 foods containing genetically modified ingredients; today they stock only 200 GM foods.

A North American Cree Indian saying epitomises the changing attitude about where we are going: Only when the last tree has died and the last river been poisoned and the last fish been caught will we realise we cannot eat money.

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