Citing widespread crises in mental health, labour force participation, industrial action, biodiversity and climate, which have come to the fore across 2022, Caldwell demands that Western economies ‘recognise that we can’t separate how we manage people and how we manage nature.’
Caldwell’s analysis locates the common root of these modern problems in an over-reliance upon ‘the logic of the assembly line’ in Western management. ‘This system looks upon the labour force, and the land, only as a source of endlessly exploitable resources, logically organised for maximum extraction.’
Burnout and climate change capture conversation in 2022
Caldwell’s comments come at the end of a year in which both burnout and climate change have continued to dominate headlines. The World Health Organisation, for example, included burnout as a recognised ‘syndrome’ in the latest revision of International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), and also published a Policy Brief on the effects of climate anxiety for the first time in 2022.
‘There is probably a place for the old model’
Despite the damage that high-intensity management models have had on people and the planet in his analysis, Caldwell did identify some sectors where it will play an important part in solving climate change. He cited solar panels as an example of a technology, ‘that we are going to want to produce in huge numbers, as quickly and cheaply as possible,’ to accelerate decarbonisation.
Caldwell is himself an entrepreneur and CEO in the cleantech industry at United Renewables, with over two decades experience leading diverse global teams developing renewable energy projects across wind, solar, tidal, and anaerobic. Beyond his experience leading businesses in the sector, he is also the host of the podcast Conversations on Climate.
Conversations on Climate brings world-leading thinkers from business and academia together to share their expertise on the subject of climate change. Previous guests include Sir Andrew Likierman, Julio Dal Poz, Professor Jean-Pierre Benoît, Professor Ioannou, Tara Schmidt, and Professor Dan Cable.
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