Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Went to a talk at The Fairmont Hotel last week. The presentation, sponsored by The Commonwealth Club, was made by Robert Reich. Reich, if you don't know, was formerly Secretary of Labor. He is now a professor at Goldman School of Public Policy at Berkeley.

The presentation was preceded by lunch. Around the table the talk represented one of Reich's comments that followed. " People are angry". Indeed. Here was a large round table of people who had never met all agreeing to some discontent or another. One gentleman pictured above was adamant in his decision not to vote for " a single incumbent" in the next election.

Reich's speech did little to lighten the mood. His year's predictions were:
~ unemployment will reach 9 - 10 % nationwide
~ the market is in store for "a correction"
~ people who have jobs will do more and make less
( due to technology and out sourcing )
~ the year will be determined by mid term elections that, in turn will be fed by the current anxiety and fear.

The big issue, according to Reich, is : Where will the aggregate demand that the economy needs come from?
He went on to answer his question, giving the reasons why it would not be the consumer, who formerly was 71 % of the demand. Likewise, again with details that I wont go into here, it would not be demand, business or government.

This was the end of his talk. You could feel the pall in the room. At that point an audience member asked a question. I dont remember the question - in truth I was half way out the door and poised for a dash to the taxi stand - but the answer was: ah, that's the good news. Success does not breed new ideas. This is a wonderful time for "change agents".

So sleep tight tonight. Everythings gonna be alright .......right?


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