March 7, 2009

Restoring the American Economy...

This, for me, is the most-right, pithiest statement I've read about how to get the American economy on-course. [And note that I'm not saying "back on course." America has been off-course for a long, long time.] It's from an article in Truth is Contageous called "Kiss the Banks Goodbye," posted yesterday:
Restoring the American economy is not going to be a matter of simply jump-starting consumer spending, or even business investment. It’s going to take a long, hard, focused effort to move away from a parasitic consumer economy in which profits are largely made through speculation, and towards a real economy that actually makes things that people both here and around the world need.
The article was originally in Counterpunch.

4 comments:

Nagarjuna said...

Great quote. But what CAN this country produce at competitive prices and in enough abundance that its economy and people can thrive? Sounds like a riddle worthy of the Sphinx.

Tom said...

Thanks for your comment, my friend.

I don't know the answer to the Sphinx-worthy riddle, but America has a fortune 'out in the world' due to decades of huge trade deficits. This in addition to the budget deficits. We need to stop being wholly a consuming country that will run into brickwalls, and become, again, some sort of producer of goods. Probably, the rest of the world will be catching up fast to our standard of living -- or, rather, we sinking to the standard of living of the Second or Third World. (?)

Buddhist_philosopher said...

Great quote indeed - very thought-provoking....

I think we can produce a lot of things. Our higher ed system is, despite its problems, the envy of much of the world. England, where I've gone twice for degrees, is great too, but until recently too expensive for most.

So education is a great potential way for us to continue to thrive. Health care is another - our system is screwed up, yes, but our technology and expertise is amazing. Other countries already rely heavily on us for innovations here.

A third area where I think we'll be leaders is in innovations and policies to stop global warming.

Yes, I think we'll all be cutting back on consumption significantly in decades to come, but hopefully more in a Zen monastery way than in a 3rd world country sort of way...

Tom said...

Yes. I shouldn't have suggested that America will become something other than a First World country. If we do lose a significant part of our affluence, we will do so in a way that is less depressing. This is, really, the good news. It is possible we could benefit from scraping the top off the cream of luxury around here.

I don't know, though, that our health care will aid our economy. We spend a fortune keeping dying people alive an extra three months. Health care, looked at strictly in economic terms, is mostly a drag on an economy.

And global warming technology, while that can be a boon to our productivity, won't add to our affluence I don't think. We will just be shielding ourselves from the sun, something we hadn't previously had to do. It is "work"; it will keep people alive -- but I think it signals the further entrenchment into less affluence.

Also, it is a big question whether other countries will feel obligated to use global-warming technologies. They haven't been the air dirtiers that America and now China are.