Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thank you Michael Mandel (and MassTLC)

At the MassTLC Annual Meeting held yesterday BusinessWeek chief economist Michael Mandel delivered the best “why we’re in this mess and what we need to do to get out it” talk I’ve heard. The sobering charts and statistics made sense even to an economics 101-needing girl like me.

In short, we borrowed big and off-shored everything and we didn’t create enough new stuff. And we did so during a decade – The Internet Decade, 1997-2007 – of big promises and little return. To matters worse, wages for everybody without advanced degrees saw just a 1.6% cumulative increase (enter excess borrowing) and we bet the farm on housing.

The good news is that Michael believes investments in education and healthcare will sustain us for a while – and that energy investments, though longer term, will ultimately help put us back on track, and maybe once again on top. The road from innovation to economic stimulant has a longer gestation period than we all think, he said, so we need to hang in there and keep the faith, which thankfully is FREE.

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