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Innovation or Recession?

Posted by: Michael Mandel on January 18

While everyone is kvetching about recession today, the Commerce Department will be talking about the future. This morning it willbe releasing a new report about how to revamp the economic statistics to better measure innovation. I write about the new report here:

The report—assembled by a panel of top academics and business leaders, including Samuel J. Palmisano of IBM (IBM) and Steven A. Ballmer of Microsoft (MSFT)—observes that innovation is key for growth and competitiveness. But it gets short shrift in government data.

The panel makes aggressive proposals for measuring innovation better. Some are important but mundane, such as getting different statistical agencies to share data. Others are high-concept, including tracking “innovation inputs,” improving the measurement of intangible assets, and possibly putting together a “national innovation index.”

Added: Here’s a piece from marketplace radio on the report.

Added: Here’s a link to the full version of the report.

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Reader Comments


January 18, 2008 11:46 AM

Hmm seems someone is suggesting e new set of economic measurement metrics because the bag of statistical tricks used so far to hide the real state of the economy is getting empty...
Thank you Michael for stating the truth (one of the few in the media)....the major engine of job creation since the collapse of the "new economy" paradigm has been:

kids and older folks alike in increasing number aiming for higher education because they know is the only way they may have a fighting chance.

Health care.
People always get sick right?? and the rotten system in place with all its inefficiencies guarantee many "middlemen" positions.

Flipping burgers, cleaning hotel rooms, etc... so far is outsource-resistant. These positions do nto pay squat and the word benefit is not even in the vocabulary but, hey, they are jobs after all...

Real Estate Industry.
Mortgage brokers, builders, loan officers, carpenters, roffers, real estate agents, etc..riding the bubble created to bail us out from the previous one...that is game over I guess..

These jobs are hardly innovation driven.

A tale of two friends of mine innovation workers.

One with a master in Computer Science goes from temp position to temp position at Microsoft.
He has to leave the company every 9 months for 90 days because of an old lawsuit, a relic of Microsoft golden age, brought by "veteran" temp worker (after many years of temp employement they claimed they were full-timers so entitled to the then legendary stock options).
I guess the whole thing is pointless once Microsoft stock is not going anywhere anymore but let's not digress...
After the 90 days break period are up he has to find a new project within the company and interview again to get an other shot to the next 9 months...when projects do not end earlier altogether

One other with a PhD in biology lost her job two weeks ago because the R&D department of the company she was working for moved almost entirely to India.

I could mention several other examples just within my circle of friends and peaople that I know....

Talk is cheap....very cheap....


January 18, 2008 11:59 AM

I forgot 2 things...
Let's bore through 2 myths perpetuated by the media over and over.

1) Europe, having more social protection, has a higher unemployment rate than us:

In Europe to be considered employed you have to work for AT LEAST 15-20 hours a week (depending on the single country statistics)
In United States even if you work 2 hours a week you are officially employed...Et voila' we found the reasons of the "magical" difference in unemployment rate percentage point statistics.

If you think "socialized medicine" (the term is so ridiculous doesn't even deserve to be commented) is the answer just ask the Canadians.

Do it indeed.
I'm Canadian too and there are LOTS and LOTS of folks (especially seniors) over there that categorically refuse to visit the US even for one day because of the horror stories about our "best in the world" healthcare system.
They simply do not want to get the chance..

By the way Canadian doctors drive BMWs and have second vacation homes too....

Thank you for your interest. This blog is no longer active.



Michael Mandel, BW's award-winning chief economist, provides his unique perspective on the hot economic issues of the day. From globalization to the future of work to the ups and downs of the financial markets, Mandel-named 2006 economic journalist of the year by the World Leadership Forum-offers cutting edge analysis and commentary.

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