Monday, December 13, 2010

Why I am Bullish on the American Economy

The American economy offers a lot of reasons to be gloomy: unemployment at 9.8%, the steady shrinking of manufacturing jobs, outsourcing, global competition, a huge "overhang" of personal and government debt, and so on. But the future looks good to me. In America, it is cool for young people to start their own businesses, especially around the point where technology and the arts come together. The dream of moguldom, or just of creative independence, drives tens of thousand of people to throw themselves into business projects. Many will fail, some will thrive, but all will contribute to the economic and creative ferment that is America. In the NY Times, Hannah Seligson chronicles young people who either couldn't get a job or didn't want one, and founded their own companies instead:
Still in debt, Mr. Gerber considered his career options. His mother kept encouraging him to get a “real” job, the kind that comes with an office and a boss. But, using the last $700 in his bank account, he decided to start another company instead.

With the new company, called Sizzle It, Mr. Gerber vowed to find a niche, reduce overhead and generally be more frugal. The company, which specializes in short promotional videos, was profitable the first year, he says.

Mr. Gerber, now 27, isn’t a millionaire, but he’s paid off his loans and doesn’t have to live with his parents (he rents an apartment in Hoboken, N.J.). And he thinks his experience can help other young people who face a daunting unemployment rate.

This sort of thing doesn't necessarily help laid off factory workers in Akron with obsolete skills, and I expect that things will remain grim for many such people. But the nation as a whole is not facing a gray future of stagnation and decline.


Unknown said...

"obsolete skills"... I have to think that we can do better. Skills are, in my mind, transformational, so I would hope 'obsolescent' is a better (albeit not great) description of the condition of the facet of our society you mention.

Life is a 'distribution', a 'sample', of our population, our society. This means we can all pull together to get to transformational transitions from bad to good.

John said...

Well, there are skills and skills; sometimes basic things like knowing how to get up and go to work every day matter a lot, and those transfer from job to job. Or a general can-do, figure out how to solve the problem attitude. But if you have been making tires for 30 years you have a lot of expertise that is pretty much useless in modern America.