A More Authentic Prosperity
I'm often asked: what is a more authentic prosperity, anyways? Aren't we prospering? Not exactly.
Consider these numbers from the Commerce Department. "On average, personal income dropped 1.8% in 2009, following a 2.7% increase in 2007".
When those raw numbers are adjusted for real standards of living, income drops even further, to near double digit territory. And that doesn't even get into wealth - which hasn't just eroded, but imploded, for the vast majority of Americans.
An authentic prosperity doesn't mean I win, you lose. That doesn't even meet the basic criterion of Pareto efficiency, the weakest and most meaningless weapon in the economic arsenal. It means, at minimum, that when you win - at least I don't lose.
Yet, exactly the opposite's been happening. It's a brain-dead way to think about running an economy - one where there is no room for investment, no real incentives for innovation, no growth in skills, and meaningless, joyless work filling up each dreary day. In other words, a Ponziconomy.
Which is why the great challenge of the 21st century - for countries, companies, entrepreneurs, and investors - is seeding a more authentic prosperity.