In Chapter 3 of The Restoration Economy, Storm Cunningham provides a list of the ways in which the current “restoration economy” is unique:
• This is the first time in history that the planet has been mostly developed, rather than mostly wilderness, pastures, and small-scale agriculture.
• This is the first time in history that the vast majority of our structures has been in a deteriorated state (thanks in part to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries’ sudden proliferation of built environment).
• This is the first Restoration Economy to occur subsequent to a population increase of four billion in just one century, after having taken hundreds of millennia to reach half that.
• This is the first Restoration Economy to occur in a world with tightly connected societies and economies, thanks to telephones, TV, airlines, the Internet, satellites, express freight, and international lending.
Bottom line: we humans are at a unique moment in our development.
Note: Cunningham gives more than one definition of Restoration Economy in his book. He regards it as the third phase of a cycle that begins with new development. New developments require maintenance, and they will eventually require restoration. A restoration economy may occur after a crisis (such as an earthquake that destroys a city), the fall of a civilization, or any time a society begins to run out of space to expand.