One my greatest fears is that the North American Innovation Machine may be badly broken. In a previous post, Chevrolet Volt and LED Lights, I raised the issue of premature adoption of new technologies that are going to be needed in the green and “less is more” revolutions that will be adopted or, later, imposed on North Americans. Over the next 20 years North America will not be able to consume 20%++ of the World’s resources with less than 5% of the World’s population.
But the problem confronting the US is that its vaunted innovation/entrepreneurial economy is starting to sputter. Just look at the Business Week story of how repeatedly ethanol has been a bust or how Venture Capital has virtually dried up – and even more so now when its needed most. For example, Ethanol is government sponsored, force-feed innovation in the Farm Belt which has literally run amuck. It is symptomatic of the turning away from manufacturing innovation and excellence – and towards the financial quick fix culminating in the recent Great Insolvency.
But to make things worse, just when its needed Venture Capital has dried up – only a relatively capital constrained group of Super Angel investors are venturing forth and laying bets on new energy, healthcare, manufacturing technologies and associated projects. When an uptick in manufacturing, technology, and jobs are needed – the financial investor are still diverting huge amounts of their bailout bucks to secure their own sinecure – restoring financial services to its preeminence as the ROI and self-aggrandizing wealth engine of the US economy. Classic bass ackward thinking. Yep, these Masters of the Business Universe are cart-horsing almost any chance for a quick recovery and seem bound and determined to prolong and marginalize the economic recovery necessitated by their own catastrophically over-leveraged mismanagement – for which, of course, they have not made any admission of guilot whatsoever -> government and John Q. Public are all to blame. I don’t think the US can afford even a 5th more of this hubris.