By Nathan Rudyk
America's an economic mess, and some Canadians are gloating because our banking system is (so far) uncomprised, our stimulus programs haven't been hijacked by cronyism, and our wealth of natural resources and universal healthcare system provide a cushion for both governments and taxpayers to ride out hard times.
BUT, if the U.S. ship sinks, Canadians can blow their horns as hard as they can and we're still nothing more than the orchestra playing bravely on the deck of the Titanic. That's why I keenly observe changes in the American economic psyche. At the grassroots, Americans are starting to save again at the fastest rate in 15 years.
And at the boardroom level, there's a recognition that financial engineering doesn't substitute for real engineering for real innovation that drives the real world forward. The best evidence yet comes from Jeff Immelt, GE's CEO. From his op-ed piece in yesterday's Financial Times:
Today, my country needs an industrial strategy built around helping companies to succeed with investment that will drive innovation and support high-technology manufacturing and exports. And it needs a robust trade policy that seeks to open markets abroad for US companies while being fair to international competition.
I consider myself to be the chief executive of a global company that is headquartered in the US. We are firmly committed to globalisation. Our employees – in India, in China, in the US and the UK – deserve to be able to compete and win around the world. At the same time, American business leaders have a responsibility to drive competitiveness in their own country.
On a personal note, I would hate to think that the lasting impression of this generation of American business is the one that exists today. We can do better. We have made our companies globally competitive; now we must do the same for our country. We can help solve difficult problems and create an optimistic future.
The reset economy has clarified the scope of the American challenge and offered us a chance for renewal. The best companies will concentrate on real value and real needs and invest for the long term, creating a firm, new foundation on which a stable, strong economy can grow.
The US has faced difficult odds many times. We have beaten them throughout history. With a commitment to technology and manufacturing-driven exports leading the way, America can do so once again.
I sure as hell hope so Jeff. Thanks for the inspiring words. Let's all, on both sides of the world's largest undefended border, get to work.