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What is Compression?

Compression refers to:

  • Population growth packing us ever tighter on a finite planet
  • Squeezed resources; they’re not unlimited.
  • Compress waste out of all work processes, eliminating everything unnecessary for the purpose.
  • Compress resource footprints for all human activity.
  • Compress work organizations’ learning cycles: Complexity is increasing, so learn more, integrate what is learned, and put it into action faster.

Our challenges: Evidence of Compression:

1. Limited natural resource availability: Energy, water, and many critical materials and minerals.

2. A precarious environment: human activity affects it in “infinite” ways other than “global climate change.” Of necessity, standard, publicized ecological arguments are limited and often oversimplified.

3. Excessive consumption, especially in industrial societies.

4. Pushback from those displaced or disadvantaged by expansion of global industrial society.

5. Increased complexity of industrial society operations. For example, Henry Ford’s Model T has morphed into a rolling computer. Add challenges 1-4 to this, and old business and economic thinking can’t cope with all of them. Even our concepts of what constitutes work and our definition of efficiency will change. (See Out of Expansion Economics.)

Compression has many physical analogies: compressing springs; compressing information; compressing the time needed to do almost anything, including our learning processes.