A dear friend of mine just picked up a bike yesterday that he had on layaway for a couple of months. I’d like to be the first in line of 300 million Americans to thank him for using layaway instead of a credit card.

My greatest worry about our financial situation is that those in leadership positions seem to think the “answer” is for us to get back to the level of spending we had 5-7 years ago. But, I believe that it was that spending that created our current reality, so why do we want to go back?

I believe we will see a greater “correction” in our country than just the markets creating a “new norm” and starting again. I believe we will see a seismic shift in the way our system and society operates.

On the ground, I see:

  • a shift back towards walkable urbanism
  • the rise of the 1099 knowledge worker
  • a ground swell for a simpler tax code
  • a ground swell for a radical downsizing of the government
  • a shift in perspective on spending and debt
  • a shift away from traditional real estate principles (that owning is better, that equity is to be borrowed against, that the smallest house in the neighborhood is the best deal, that a house is an investment as much as a home, etc.)

History has taught us that all companies fail; all organisms die; all kingdoms fall. But cities seem to live forever. There aren’t that many examples of cities that didn’t make it. They are mostly all still here.

Our cities will not go away. It’s our nation that we need to worry about.

Check out this TED video on The Surprising Math of Cities: