Well it IS happening, by people like you and me and many others who understand the twin threats of climate change and peak oil, and who are doing all they can to prepare, for the sake of their children and grandchildren.
What I'm talking about in this post title is the "government/corporate establishment."
As I peruse the news both on-line and in my local newspapers, I keep seeing these expressions:
"excess production capacity"
"corporations are holding cash"
"millionaires are increasing savings"
These items are matters of fact that can be verified--they are not political viewpoints.
During the recession and continuing to the present, our economy has huge excess capacity, but since so much industry has left, I'm not sure just what kind of excess capacity it is. In our global society, the US-based corporations can't keep their US workforce at full employment if its overseas factories can't sell the stuff that they make. So it can't put people to work either here as accountants and sales reps or abroad on the factory floor. Eventually falling tax receipts puts teachers, police, and other public servants out of work, no matter how much their services are needed in communities.
In light of that complex global relationship, perhaps it is correct to state that the US and world's excess capacity includes video games, designer handbags, wide screen TVs, and all the other stuff that goes under the heading "consumer goods." Then the downward spiral affects vacations, hotel and resort occupancy, and other leisure spending. As jobs are lost, the cycle gains momentum until the entire economy is down the drain.
People with an income rather save a little more of it than buy stuff they don't really need or take a vacation they could postpone. They've come to see that the world and their position in it is less secure than they once thought. And for the 10 percent who are unemployed, most spending on consumer goods evaporates, along with prodding their better-off relatives who are sustaining them (if they are lucky) into a truly austere spending pattern.
Isn't this a turning point we environmental activists had hoped for?
Let's see, there is a huge supply of money saved which needs to be invested, but not in producing the same stuff as before.
There is a huge unemployed and underemployed workforce which needs to be utilized, but not by doing the same work as before.
And, there is a gargantuan task ahead in building a sustainable society, one that needs capital and a workforce that is used in new ways.
It's time to stop living in the 20th Century and get on with creating the 21st.
We have what we need to save our economy, our middle class, our once egalitarian democratic society, our world standing as a nation, and the habitability of our planet. We could build that sustainable society.