Posted by: Jon Alexander | April 30, 2010

Flutters, base conditioning and the state of the world

Rob demonstrates the "flutter", before and after

A thought struck me the other day, as I did my second set of Flutters. 

To set the context, this exercise, which causes an amount of pain which is distinctly disproportionate to its name, is intended to help correct my posture – to set my shoulders further back, opening my rib cage and expanding my lungs, all very important for ultra running.  And what’s really surprising is that, three months away from the longest and hardest run I will ever do, Rob tells me that this base conditioning is the most important part of my training.  I find this very hard to deal with, and want only to go for longer and longer runs.  I have to suppress this instinct.

My thought, then, was this.  It’s very profound, I warn you.

What if you consider this as an analogy to the state of the global economy at present?  We are in crisis, but arguably now is still the moment for base conditioning.  Now is the time when we should be asking fundamental questions – what do we mean by economic growth? – and reconditioning the structure of our societies to answer these fundamental questions in new ways.  The work of economists such as Tim Jackson, of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, and South Americans Carlota Perez and Manfred Max-Neef, would argue exactly this, as would people like John Elkington of Volans, originators of the Phoenix Economy concept.

But it is too tempting just to do what we were doing before, but harder.  Surely, if we work hard enough at it, we will succeed.

Maybe.  Maybe not.



  1. I see that you enjoy the long runs, allowing your mind to take a free spin. Very interesting observations! I would add that they are not solely true for world economics. Coming from Oxfam, I guess some severe flutters are necessary in almost every piece of our work: global health care, education, womens rights…

  2. Could be too late. Look at this:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: