By Fareed Zakaria
In the 1970s, U.S. “growth in real output per person dropped from its post-World War II peak of over 3 percent a year to just over 2 percent a year,” The Economist noted last week. In the 2000s it dropped below 1 percent. Have innovation and technology stopped driving growth?
The theory has been gaining ground, but may be misplaced, the magazine says:
“Across the economy as a whole productivity did slow in 2005 and 2006 – but productivity growth in manufacturing fared better. The global financial crisis and its aftermath make more recent data hard to interpret. As for the strong productivity growth in the late 1990s, it may have been premature to see it as the effect of information technology making all sorts of sectors more productive. It now looks as though it was driven just by the industries actually making the computers, mobile phones and the like.”
Could California see an oil boom? The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates the Monterey shale field alone “holds 15.4 billion barrels of oil, rivaling America’s total conventional reserves,” notes Mark Mills in the Wall Street Journal.
“The overall economic benefits of opening up the Monterey shale field could reach $1 trillion. One can only imagine the impact on California's education system, social programs, infrastructure, and even energy-tech R&D. Moreover, with that kind of revenue, Sacramento tax collections could wipe out debt and deficits.”
And how should the U.S. respond to unfolding events in Mali? The question is complicated by a lack of clear information on the ground.
“[S]urveillance missions in northern Mali have had only a limited effect. Islamist leaders have cracked down on some electronic communications and been careful not to reveal pieces of sensitive information that could be monitored, like their exact positions,” the New York Times reports.
“General Ham said that it had been very difficult to get consistent, reliable intelligence about what he called a militant ‘safe haven’ in Mali...‘It’s tough to penetrate,’ he said. ‘It’s tough to get access for platforms that can collect. It’s an extraordinarily tough environment for human intelligence, not just ours but the neighboring countries as well.’”