A ‘new normal’ for America’s economy?

Thought for the day: Is it possible that America’s 20th century strength (and the backbone of our success here in northern Minnesota’s steel and timber empire) was the nation’s forward-thinking and at times complete domination of the energy industry? Now that oil is becoming less reliable and plentiful as a commodity, we are struggling. Thus, can we even consider turning the clock back or is a new direction necessary to preserve America’s standing?

These questions are inspired by a post at AlterNet, “Why Going ‘Back to Normal’ is no longer an option for American economy — and where we’re headed now.” The most interesting idea I found therein was the concept that, in history, the societies that dominate energy resources become dominant. (h/t reader Elanne).


  1. Silicon Valley has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. There are a lot of engineers who still have their “knowledge” but there is no local industry that requires it since fabrication has moved overseas.

    The “knowledge” is not mobile in the same way “information” is. Its tied to the manufacturing processes where it is applied. There is a reason Magnetation was developed on the Iron Range in Minnesota.

    What we have right now is a lot of highly educated people reassuring themselves that they will not go the way of manufacturing workers. They will be “knowledge workers.” But as US capital is shipped overseas so will the knowledge work.

    The advantage US knowledge workers have now is that they are part of the world’s largest market and biggest source of capital investment. As other economies grow, those advantages will disappear and the knowledge workers here will be left by the side of the road just like the manufacturing workers have been.

    If we expect to sustain our current lifestyle we need to figure out how to stop the bleeding of capital out of the country and into the “world economy”. Right now there is a lot capital accumulated through increasing productivity in the United States, but being invested to create jobs in other countries and increase those worker’s future productivity.

    That is true for both manufacturing and “knowledge” workers.

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