Friday, September 10, 2010

Uber-Geographer, Meet Uber-Economist

A GDP Chart from
Joel Kotkin's biography describes him, among other things, as an "uber-geographer."   I've been reading his latest book, The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050" and writing about it.

Kotkin has me writing because he looks at Census and WTO demographics predicting the United States to be among the few industrialized nations growing in population over the next 40 years.  While the working-age populations of our competitors for production sales whither, Kotkin predicts a revitalized industrial base in the United States.

The Midwest, in Kotkin's future, is revitalized.  I like the ring to that.

Not everyone sees the future that way though.

Dr. Edmond J. Seifried is an economist.  He's dean of banking schools at two universities.  He might, rightly, be considered an "uber-economist."  I heard him speak Wednesday.

Seifried was the speaker at a Park National Bank-hosted session updating PNB's customers on the economy.  [By the way, he all but said there will be no double dip.  And he wasn't talking about ice cream.]

I like what he had to say.  He left me, mostly, upbeat about the economy recovering.
I have to add "mostly" though.  It's what he was cproperly quoted in The Advocate as saying that concerned me the most.
During the Q&A session, Seifried said,  "I don't see America gaining its industrial base back. That's very painful to me."

"Painful to us too," I thought to myself.

Dr. Ed had charts showing the U.S. domination in gross domestic product.  He, rightly, scoffed at those saying China will overtake us as an economic power in a few years.
His charts line up with other economists I've heard who remind us that the manufacturing portion of the U.S. GDP would be, on its own, the third largest economy in the World.
He gave everyone in the room a warm feeling about our country when he said, "We're wealthy, well-run and we produce.  Remember where you live."
So why say THAT about our industrial base?
GDP charts are an economists tool.  They're a geographer's too, though. 
I don't know what to do to reconcile this except to say that I think its time that uber-economist and the uber-geographer meet. 
Kotkin meet Seifried. Seifried meet Kotkin.
Work it out. 
I'm rooting for Kotkin on this one though.

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