If we are to have the future we want, few would say we can just coast along on our current course.
Many great challenges face the world we live in. We are the most prosperous people in known history, but the cost of that prosperity is unsustainable high, at least as it is currently generated. Most of this could be corrected by “adjusting” how we generate our material wealth.
The current paradigm is based on some clearly incorrect assumptions:
Infinite growth: Mathematically impossible in a closed system, although the system COULD have a lot more capacity if anything approaching efficiency was used. Consider: as things work today, the world economy is measured in currency (a very incomplete metric) and about $100 trillion USD of activity are reported (this is a very loose number under a best case interpretation)
Of that $100 Trillion, about $17 Trillion is spent on freight, that money is largely wasted.
By making things in the wrong place, then moving them.
There are arguments about “efficiency” that somehow building a facility with huge unit per hour capacities and very efficient unit production magically offsets the hideous inefficiencies of then moving millions of tons of both products and raw materials thousands of miles to where those units are used or made.
Far better to accept lower unit efficiency and make the units where they are needed, also, using materials ALREADY on location, recycled from the previous generation of obsolete products. Comparing those two scenarios “efficiency” is very telling.
Where are the materials at today? In population centers, where they are most likely to be consumed.
Shipping could be shrunk to 2-5% of its current footprint. This aspect alone could capture not only most of the currently expended $17 trillion, (and a portion of the estimated 35 trillion in environmental cost absorbed by the worlds natural systems each year (35% attributed to transportation emissions)) but could also localize a substantial portion of the $12 Trillion spent on manufacturing,
So with one adjustment you have redirected (17+12+approx 10) $39 TRILLION of the worlds economy back to local communities and away from environmental destruction.