danger of confusing the navigator with the oarsman. As we attempt to steer industry in the right direction, we may loose sight of the larger policy horizon critical for systems navigation.
This paper argues that national governments must go beyond the study and improvement of industry's ecology and apply similar principles and paradigms to nations as a whole. This will involve adapting a systems-ecology view of human and economic activity across multiple scales.
There are several interlocking rationales for advocating a broader government role in industrial ecology. From an ecological perspective, one must acknowledge that there are obvious limits to applying ecological and biological analogies to socially contrived systems such as industry or governments. Ecologists have noted that society is facing a new class of problems that are fundamentally cross scale in space as well as time (Holling, 1992). These problems are not susceptible to reductionist analysis or the simple optimization of subsystems. They must be approached with a healthy suspicion of parochial solutions and a skepticism of what single organizations can accomplish. Figure 1 illustrates a potential space-time hierarchy of industrial, or industry-relevant, systems (adapted from Holling, 1992). Similar hierarchies are exhibited by ecological phenomena and natural systems, such as weather. The time axis refers very roughly to the average time required for significant structural change (e.g., the time require to develop new products, transform organizations, and build new infrastructures—essentially