John ‘Skip” Laitner is an economist, enjoying a desert year while on research sabbatical from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. Skip is discovering some surprising insights from his time in the desert that can inform the way one looks at the economy and social systems. In a series of posts entitled Desert Year, Skip lends us his new insights, as well as his 40 years of experience as an energy and natural resource economist, to probe the economic, climate, and energy challenges that confront us.
An Interesting Adaptation
The Ocotillo plant, up close and personal, right here in the Arizona Sonoran Desert, is an intriguing desert shrub. It knows how to survive.
After the first serious rain it can grow its leaves amazingly fast in just a couple of days. And then it holds them for as long as the rains continue – whether into the spring or during the current monsoon season.
But it drops its leaves just as quickly when the rains end. It grows them fast, and sheds them just as fast.
On the other hand, we have the example of the Hampton, Maryland‑based clothing retailer, Jos. A. Bank, which seems to be thriving in spite of the economy’s current sluggishness. Curiously, it even offered at one point to take back its suits from men who had been laid off.
Hmmm… A common thread? An interesting adaptation?
I’m one of those economists who think the new normal will be a very sluggish economy for some years to come. (more…)