2008….Cause For Inspiration? The Economic Year In Review

Hope-Despair, a painting by Feroza Unvala

2008 – what a year! As we get ready to draw the curtains on one of the most unsettling economic years in history, we the writers of the Inspired Economist are still wondering… was this year one that has left our battered economy begging for inspiration? Or have the sustainable events of 2008 spearheaded the initiation of what we believe is truly an Inspired Economy?

2008 was about the $700 billion bailout. Foreclosures. The plummeting stock market. As the year came to a close, the nation’s economic turmoil battled with the presidential election. But it was also a time when new businesses were born into what appears to be an unprecedented sustainability boom. When energy, economy and environment have taken on a new and inter-dependent definition.

As we position our economy to take off on this inspiring eve of the Obama generation, let’s reflect on the change that has come into play this year……

The First Quarter

The first quarter of the year saw the idea of social entrepreneuring take flight beyond the borders of America.

Cover of Jeffery Sach's book Common Wealth

Cover of Jeffery Sach’s book Common Wealth

It was also the time when the Center for Resource Solutions launched the Environmental Tracking Network of North America – North America’s first network organization for renewable energy and greenhouse gas emissions tracking systems and registries. Check out John-Paul’s posts:

Social Entrepreneurs Flourish in the Middle East and Europe

Center for Resource Solutions Launches North America’s First Environmental Tracking Network for Renewable Energy and Greenhouse Gas Emissions

The Second Quarter

Recognizing difficult times ahead for the U.S. consumer, Capital One developed the MoneyWi$e program to provide consumers with variety of free, multilingual financial education materials to guide them in making smart financial choices.

Capital One’s Top 10 Money Management Tips

“Working Together Teamwork Puzzle Concept” by lumaxart from Flickr under Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike License

Visionary business leaders informed the world that the ability to absorb and manage change is widening the gap between winners and losers in the global economy. CEOs reported a surprising level of optimism about change as an opportunity to build new competitive advantage. Fortuitous words for the Obama campaign…

IBM Global CEO Study: CEOs Battle to Keep Up With the Pace of Change

The Third Quarter

The third quarter saw the economic tidal wave actually garnering destructive energy starting with Freddie, Fannie In Trouble. In no time, the word on the street was that “America Has a Spending Problem.”

The Economic Meltdown

Chris and Reenita put together a wonderful series of posts about the Wall Street debacle and how it brought down the house of cards that was once considered a prosperous economy:

Lehman Brothers Collapse: New Financial Architecture Required

To Bailout or Not to Bailout: Is Free Market Economics Sustainable?

America’s Market Bailout : Some Figures For The Weekend

Does The Credit Crunch Help Or Hurt The Issue of Climate Change?

Amiel brought to light a social economic model known as the ‘Base of the Pyramid,’ an analogy to describe the world’s population in terms of tiers of the world economic pyramid.

Pyramid shapes

The Base of the Pyramid

At the apex lie middle and upper class members of developed nations, and at the base, the four billion poorest people, with an annual per capita of less than $1500.For those of you who have not read his series, they make for a wonderful read:

The Base of the Pyramid 2.0: A Review (pt. 1)

The topic of renewable energy also began to heat up in the third quarter. As America drew closer to the U.S. Presidential elections, Sarah showed us how other nations got in on the act:

Top Five Prime Nations for Renewable Energy Investment

The Fourth Quarter

In the fourth and final quarter of the year, the walls of the so-called steady state economy began tumbling down redefining capitalism as we knew it. ‘Bailout‘ proved to the catchphrase. First for Wall Street…

Economy In Recession: The Cost Of Allowing Lehman Brothers to Fail

Death of Wall Street, Rise of Main Street

From Mortgage to Bailout: How Did The Problem Arise?

Wall Street Bull

And then as Orion and Fred showed us, for the auto industry too…

Should the Government Give Another $25 Billion to GM, Ford and Chrysler?

Big Three Bailout Imminent, Car Czar to Oversee the Rescue

The fourth quarter painted a dismal economic scenario in more ways than one. Starbucks coffee came under the radar for greenwashing. Holiday spending looked worse than it had in years and even charity took on a negative meaning as it funded terrorist attacks on Mumbai, in perhaps the hugest defiance to capitalism since 9/11.

Collared Greens

Green Collar Economy

But amidst the gloom, we could see the shining promise of a new green economy:

A New Energy Economy Is Emerging In the USA

The Future World Economy : Bretton Woods II in Washington Must Deliver

Is There a Green Upside to the Economic Meltdown?

Barack Obama’s election to presidency only deepened stamp on the change that had already begun.

wind energy capacity

Wind Energy

Maryanne, Ramsay and Leah’s posts showed us how the new President-elect is providing the inspiration that America is looking for to get back onto its feet:

President-elect Barack Obama Talks About A New Chapter On Climate Change

Obama Might Just Make Green Dreams Come True

Obama’s Green Job Plan x 10

Energy Efficiency is THE Business Opportunity for 2009

CalCars PHEV Prius

CalCars PHEV Prius

Jeff and Orion’s posts demonstrate how this change is happening not just in America, but all over the world….

Germany Passes Tax Breaks for Low CO2 Emission Cars

Wal-Mart and China: Will Sustainability Commitments Produce Results?

So amidst a scenario of doom and gloom, there is definite promise of a new and green tomorrow.

A chemist tests for the industrial chemical melamine at the University of California, Davis.

Melamine Testing

Thank you Amiel, Mike, Brenda and Lisa for shedding light on the various sustainable economic tools, ideas and events that will make our world a safer, healthier and more efficient place….

US EPA Watersense Program Releases New Internet Widget for Water Efficiency

FDA Sets Safe Limits for Melamine in Baby Formula: American Manufacturers in the Clear Thus Far

Copyright Asgard Press/DC Comics/Warner Bros. 2008

Asgard Press Vintage DC Heroes Calendar


The new Inspired Economy promises to be a place where all of us can aspire to be more like Superman with our own unique effort to save the planet.

Superman Joins the Fight to Save Trees

Socially Conscious Bottled Water

Talk about a year of inspiration!

Happy Holidays to all of our readers. Thank you for inspiring us to build the premier blog on the Economics of Sustainability. May the new year give us all the chance to collectively take the action that beckons a truly Inspired Economy in 2009!

Image credit: Feroza Unvala, The Inspired Economist