Are we at the end of an era? Plus, money-saving tips via crowdsourcing.

Two news items that capture some of the spirit of the times:

 

  • In a New York Times column, Thomas Friedman raises the question of whether this downturn may signal the end of an era of unsustainable growth.  Asks Friedman: “What if the crisis of 2008 represents something much more fundamental than a deep recession? What if it’s telling us that the whole growth model we created over the last 50 years is simply unsustainable economically and ecologically and that 2008 was when we hit the wall….”
  •  On a more mundane note, Google applies “crowdsourcing” to the question of spending less – with a new web site, Tip Jar. Tip Jar uses a Google tool called Moderator to allow visitors to submit and vote on money-saving lifestyle tips. Google announced Tip Jar’s launch earlier this month — and so far the Tip Jar site contains more than 3,000 tips.

For more on sustainability  and what it means for businesses, explore the Sustainability area of our site.

For more on collective intelligence techniques such as crowdsourcing, see “Decisions 2.0: The Power of Collective Intelligence,” in the Winter 2009 issue of MIT Sloan Management Review.