Monday, March 10, 2008

A matter of perspective

While it's easier than ever to succumb to fear and negative thinking, due to the 24/7 nature of today's news cycle, Boomtown USA's Jack Schultz offered us a healthy dose of perspective, in this post from Friday.

He writes, "I’ve become more convinced that we’ve become a country of worriers. Last year 2/3 of Americans thought we were in a recession, when in fact, all of the economic data from this past year clearly showed that we were not.

We scared ourselves to death in the 70s when we thought that OPEC was going to rule the world, in the 80s when the Japanese were going to buy up all of California (Do you remember when the land under the Imperial Palace was worth more than ALL of California?), in the 90s with the “giant sucking sound to Mexico” and today with offshoring.

My guess is that we’ll find something new to worry about in five years. Meanwhile, we’ll have added several million new jobs, the economy will continue to grow, we’ll be doing even better than we were in 2008 but we’ll continue to think we are going off the cliff."

I'm not suggesting a Pollyanna-ish take on the problems of society, but Schultz has a good point. He also has a good post about artisanal cheesemaking that is pertinent to our own home state.

4 comments:

Jason said...

Neat perspective. I was recently speaking with a friend who is a business owner, and he gave me advice on how to deal with a recession: refuse to participate! If everyone refuses to participate in the recession, it simply can't happen. I laughed it off when he mentioned it, but there is some nugget of truth there. I do believe that we are a strong and vibrant America, but that we have created never before seen levels of foreign debt which will handcuff our ability to sustain long term growth. Workforce development programs, career training, free career resources, and other services provided by state or US funded programs are big targets for cutbacks in our war on debt. Yet, these cuts only serve to further retard our growth and development as a world leader, or even as a nation that provides equal opportunity and access to success to its citizens. I only hope that there is some great break through on the horizon, that allows us to bite into our debt, create new jobs, and provide the training to the aging workforce and their decaying skill sets. I am not pessimistic, though, and don't mean to be an alarmist. To speak of the problems and concerns is the first step to finding solutions. People have to feel comfortable having a public discourse about the potential obstacles and issues, so that they can make informed decisions in their own lives, and maybe generate new ideas and innovation to help re-energize our country's growth. I'm always open to have these discussions, and hope others will join in.

bizdirector said...

Jason,

Thanks for your nuanced and very well-framed comment. I'd say you are dead-on with your points, particularly when you wrote, "Workforce development programs, career training, free career resources, and other services provided by state or US funded programs are big targets for cutbacks in our war on debt."

I don't think it's accidental that America enjoyed its greatest economic growth in the decades following the GI Bill, which allowed returning service members to get a no-cost education and spawned the middle class that built our nation's economic infrastructure.

We need something similar at this juncture, at least something more significant than a $1,200 stimulus check.

g2bn2wn said...

Well said...I like the idea of refusing to participate however isn't that like saying just ignore it and it will go away? No doubt our economy will turn around, it always does but I, for one, cannot ignore it. I cannot afford to.

The workforce development reference is a good one. We must invest in our workforce if we are to compete in a global or even local economy. While Maine has many great opportunities, there are still too many barriers preventing Maine from achieving any kind of sustained economic growth. Taxes, Workers Comp and other costs continue to leave Maine behind as does the cost of educating our young people including the cost of post secondary education. Every student I talk with wants to leave this state as quickly as they can. If I were to do it again, I would have to strongly consider this as well. Too bad, Maine has much to offer and is a beautiful state. Hey...beauty is only skin deep. It's the substance that counts.

bizdirector said...

Wow! Great comments.

I think our state's future and the possibility of sustained economic opportunities require a much more strategic focus.

I know that I'd like to see much more coordination between economic and workforce development.