It would appear that capitalism has a developed a terrible dependency issue, turning hostile and violent when there’s nothing left in the punch bowl. Unfortunately, new fears of a double dip recession have emerged, the caked residue of weak economic growth and a soft job market. On the heels of a 30-year spending spree and the party of our lifetime, we find ourselves searching for our equilibrium once again.
If consumer spending represents 70 percent of GDP, most would agree that our economy needs the middle class to pollinate economic growth. Wealth in America, however, has become more concentrated, as corporate earnings have surgedby 200 percent since 1990, while wage growth has increased by just two percent during the same time frame.
There was a time when the carburetor repairman had time to recalibrate his skill sets to accommodate fuel injectors, but with the advent of technology and a global economy, workers can lose their job one day and find themselves obsolete the next. Even white-collar employees, once exempt from the perils of progress, have become autoworkers in sheep’s clothing, and much to their chagrin, the wool suits are starting to itch.
It’s easy to identify the problems, but solutions take real effort. Over the last 15 years, 64 percent of all new jobs were created by small businesses, yet large corporations have marginalized their local competition with greater economies to scale. Despite pleas for a White House plan, the federal government is ill equipped to accelerate job growth, leaving municipalities to fend for themselves.
In response, local governments have been converting data they’re required to collect into formats that developers can manipulate in an effort to monetize information. Hopefully, this will pave the way for small companies like Voxeo to provide platforms that help regional programmers deliver train schedulesand news of fresh vegetable deliveries on iPhone apps, generating revenue for local merchants that otherwise wouldn’t exist.