Monday, September 15, 2008

What are the fundamentals of an economy?


John McCain earlier today: "Our economy, I think, is still -- the fundamentals of our economy are strong, but these are very, very difficult times,'' McCain said."

Leonard on Salon.com sharply points out that this is effectively nonsense. "Unemployment is at a five-year high, consumer spending is predicted to decline this fiscal quarter for the first time in 17 years, and we are currently undergoing the worst housing bust since the Great Depression."

Gas prices. Health care costs. Wall Street nightmares. Our ailing infrastructure and our limping cities.
Our shrinking manufacturing base and the implosion of Detroit. Looming consumer debt.
If you're talking about actual economic fundamentals, the immediate nuts and bolts of building prosperity, the picture is very, very, very dim.

However! While he is not my choice for president, I think McCain's statement has a little kernel of validity.

We still have a growing population, a world class higher education system, a democratic, entrepreneurial society, and a wealth of natural resources like agricultural land and water. These leave us better positioned than many other nations out there, including the BRICs who are supposed to be the new superpowers, to face down the scary 21st century global economic threats of massive social unrest and global warming.
We need much better approaches to managing our human capital and our natural resources over the next decade. We need a better social safety net, improved education policies, and sustainability measures, aka the new carbon economy. This will determine whether America will see renewed prosperity or will muddle through a "long emergency" of breakdown and even chaos.

11 comments:

Todd Bryans said...

I don't think he's viewing our economy from the perspective of the people. Perhaps, the basis of his viewpoint is made after looking at his own bank account.

Anonymous said...

Anya, good post, but I am to distracted trying to figure out how the back of that car ended up on top of the fence.

Anonymous said...

Make that too distracted...

Anonymous said...

McCain's going to get blasted until he says what he perceives the fundamentals as. he never does that. You offer up the bad, but also not the validity part of it. But since McCain never gets specific, you're just left scratching your head.

Anonymous said...

McCain is toast. He doesnt have a chance.

johnsmith said...

Good post. Well, I don't think, economically we are in a better position as compared to other countries. The current job crisis, burden of debt, low credit score..etc. we are going through all this.

I agree with you about the dim picture of economic fundamentals. This is a serious concern that we need to care of.

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