The World is Changing and so is our Economy

We might be in the midst of a recession, but I don’t think we have seen anything yet.  Most of America is not willing to acknowledge a few key concepts.

1. Things won’t bounce back to where they were, expect recovery to be in decades not months.  A new normal has been set.

2. The old economy is dying.  The days of manufacturing things is now a commodity.  That other countries are able to much better and cheaper.

3. Our educational system is broken to prepare America’s youth for the new economy.

I understand that I sound like chicken little and at this point people are laughing at the mention of the sky falling.  I could point to statistics and reputable journalists, but perhaps the best thing to do is show you reality.  Let’s take a look at a great city that at one time was the “model city” for “industrial” America, Detroit.

It literally lays in ruins.  It looks vacant similar to Chernobyl after a nuclear meltdown.  Will all cities be in this position?  No.  Is there a little of Detroit coming to every city?  Yes.  We can no longer stand idle and watch as things decay.  It is time to step up and unite.  Tackle the tough problems we face in educating our youth and training a displaced workforce.  It is time to make creativity and innovation core to our culture and walk through to the other side prosperous and and top.   As you watch these samples of urban decay ask yourself what you can do to change your neighborhood, city and state.  How can you help be part of the solution?

4 Comments

  1. I know that many people don’t want to admit it, but the common thread of creating equality and standardization is blocking us from preparing our youth. It has become a common thread in our governmental policies over the last few decades.

    We espouse enlightenment and diminish innovation and creativity. We are not headed in the right direction for improving our economy as it stands today.

  2. There are many reasons for the decline of Detroit.
    Not one single reason is the cause, all combined did Detroit in.

    1) Politics
    2) Economy Relies on 1 Industry (auto industry)
    3) Unions (preventing changes in auto industry needed to remain competitive)
    4) Crime

    There’s more, but those are the ones that jumped out (to me).

    I don’t cry for the old Detroit, but celebrate the new, young, imaginative, energetic, experimental crowds that are embracing a new balanced lifestyle in Detroit (art, agriculture, community, etc…)

    The new mindset, of the next generation, is very much akin to what you find at the heart of @gangplank 😉

  3. Only two things I’d add:

    1) Our education system isn’t failing EVERYONE – just those who continue to believe that being prepared for a “manufacturing” style job – and the mindset, worldview and work methods that entails will still be the path to the middle class. Yes, we created the most powerful middle class the world has ever known by creating “high school” to prepare our population for manufacturing jobs at exactly the right time (as the agrarian society really began tailing off and the industrial became the driver of the world’s economy). What we need now is a new idea, a new system that prepares our population for the “post manufacturing” economy.

    This is so pervasive we are not even cognizant of the bias it creates in us. For example, we use the word “work” as a description of a place we go – but only because you have to be there to work the machine, put together the car or drive the forklift. We are obsessed with Six Sigma, Toyota Production System and other mfg management systems which think about how you manage a linear mfg operation.

    What does that mean? Less Dell and more Apple. Nothing Apples makes is made here, by Apple. Everything Apple makes is prototyped, designed, engineered and tested HERE, by Apple. Work of the mind, not work of the hands.

    2) Historically, nations (empires, city states, etc) that are “on top” in one economic reality are rarely willing to accept the change that is happening. The US wasn’t very powerful in a world dominated by agrarian societies (and economies). The industrial revolution was an opportunity we capitalized on. Now, our ability to out produce the rest of the world – see WWII and the cold war – has become so ingrained in our concept of self that I’m not sure we have the collective will to move beyond it.

    Last, this isn’t to say that the US is doomed, just that we have to decide if we want to hang on to what was or see the change as an opportunity…

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