Pragmatic Western industrial society, 'backs into' the future. Until an event, or act, occurs, no action is taken. The event determines the action to be taken, - usually based on a previous situation or assumed hallowed ideal, such as free enterprise. As the Exxon Valdez oil spill, and similar situations demonstrate, we have made a political philosophy out of 'crisis management.' There is a distrust of theories or schemes that deal with our future. The result is, we are 'event driven', and have lost control.

Environmental limits to the carrying capacity of the globe and limits to population growth now force us to re-appraise global society. Ecological dangers are only the starting point. The continuing allegiance to worn-out political and social structures incapable of having a broader vision other than short term gains drain our energy. We can no longer afford to be 'event driven' and must move away from past icons, even from such accepted tenets as growth economics and financial security. We must free ourselves from our past to consider new social values.

Many are aware that a basic shift in outlook is necessary. Social values such as personal integrity and community responsibility are thrusting their way to the forefront. There has been an extraordinary growth in the number of citizens whom, for reasons of personal commitment, form small groups to recycle products, defend environmental concerns, or produce merchandise of lasting value. As these groups grow they form communities committed to social ideals and political action.

The growth of smaller groups is inevitable as national identification ends with advancing globalisation. The prime social nexus for new organizational structure will be a community committed to a cause such as the environment, recycling, or relationships. This 'gathering round a cause' is tribal in the sense there is a shared commitment and caring with others. At the same time the 'cause' is based on an increased sense of personal responsibility. It is these 'caring' communities that herald a culture consistent with global limitations and a stimulating, exciting alternative to heedless excesses of individualism.