My interest is in the future because I am going to spend the rest of my life there.” – Charles Kettering

One of the best economic thinkers out there right now is Robert Gordon, who gave a great speech about the American economy at a recent TED conference.

Gordon spoke about America’s amazing run of economic growth from 1870 to 1970 with innovation being a big part of the story.

Breakthroughs such as electricity, indoor plumbing, transportation (trains, cars, and aircraft), infrastructure, communications, and medical care – in addition to rising educational achievements and population growth – drove steady increases in American productivity, income, profits, and a rising middle class – the backbone of any healthy economy.

Looking ahead, Gordon thinks that America’s economy will have a tougher time keeping the momentum.

Why? Because instead of enjoying tailwinds, it now faces challengingheadwinds such as poor demographics, weak education, crushing debt, and rising inequality.

This is pretty consistent with the mood in the country right now, and forms the talking points of many of the candidates running for president – with the significant exception of Marco Rubio.

But a new book by Alec Ross paints an altogether different picture of America’s future: The Industries of the Future.

Ross paints an upbeat, lively picture highlighting many emerging industries, from cyber security and big data, to financial technology along with a huge, emerging trillion-dollar industry at the heart of life sciences – genomics.

He sees huge opportunities for young people in this industry, as there’s a sizable skills gap with many good-paying jobs for those with only a technical degree.

Broaden Your Horizon

From an investment point of view, I think the current challenges China is facing – as well as the weak relative performance of emerging markets over the last several years – are blinding many to the real opportunity.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email