Let’s Get Smart

by Norman Halls, contributor

We have to look further than the everyday dilemma, further than the stock market, and local, national and world news headlines. And most of all today’s politics. In typical economics we think, or assume, that people are perfectly lucid. To achieve growth you can’t rely on government. “Because government has to take money from somebody before it can spend it, there is no economic gain from anything that government does.” Jeffrey Dorfman, Forbes. The thought that many of us have, that government will be our savior, is not likely. The casualty between the political insecurity and the economic development is often erroneous. Dorfman argues, “Part of the difficulty in reaching the compromises necessary to get things done in Washington is that the two parties believe so many opposite theories with each side sure that their opinion represents fact.”

For each of us, the economy has its up’s and down’s. “The central challenge we need to be focusing on is the issue of skills – not the issue of jobs per se”, according to James Bessen, economist at BU School of Law. There is a huge difference, he insists, between automating tasks and completely automating a job and dispensing with the human being entirely.  We have seen the competitive edge on businesses and the worker has changed immensely over the years. A 2014 report by the Metcalf Foundation of Canada, argued that workplace training and investment in employees is as integral as education to ensuring Ontarians have the right skills and competencies to thrive in the new economy. And Ontario’s Highly Skilled Workforce Expert Panel perhaps put it most plainly: “If we are to create a highly skilled workforce in Ontario,” its report stated; “employers, educators, training agents, intermediaries, labour, service providers, and Indigenous and community organizations must collaborate.”

“There are all sorts of problems in the American economy, but none of them add up to doubling or halving the welfare of the average American over the next generation. Yes, growth is the problem,” according to John Cochrane, Stanford University. One of the biggest problems is, the President’s priority in spending and what he wants to spend on “the wall” between Mexico and United States.  For instance, “there are millions of men, women, and children who live in communities that fall on both sides of the international boundary. And there are the billions of dollars in two-way trade that sustain millions of U.S. jobs.” Wrote Walter Ewing. This will be lost if the wall is built.

As we know, a number of people think that their community will return to statics quo and the jobs will return to the area. Growth stems from businesses – only if there are skilled workers to provide the functions needed. There are a few states that have been misled. For example, recently the coal miners were given the understanding they could go back to work. But, who is going to purchase the coal? Also, the miners should figure out how they can produce coal without the medical side effects. The use of technology is needed, are they trained enough to handle it? This is just one of the many types of businesses that will keep business and industry in the community. In order to compete with other companies, in this country and throughout the world, there will be new technology incorporated in the manufacturing or process.  

“Uncertainty and massive technological, economic and political change require adaptive flexibility. The only possibility to change is change itself. Thus, companies, governments, and individuals need to adopt a new mindset and to become more agile. This is precisely why at the Lauder Institute we revised the curriculum so that the focus is on change and on the skills needed to be successful in dealing with change.” M. Guillén, A. Davis Directors of the Lauder Institute, Wharton School They maintain you need to; “understand politics that has become even more important than in the past if one is to be an effective business leader. Growing unpredictability challenges our way of thinking about business problems. It requires foresight and flexibility of mind. Our program offers in-classroom and experiential ways to learn more about how exactly politics affects business, and how the relationship is changing.”

The challenge for technology in the future is not a controversial position.  But it’s politically correct to make sure the businesses have programs for the technological equipped employees. Now, do it today!

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