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Is The Economic Meltdown Good For Us?

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By Ben Cohen

By Ben Cohen

Time Magazine paints a rosy picture of a future devoid of greedy bankers and filled with innovation:

If you want to feel encouraged about our economic near future — not
this damned decade but the one to come — ignore the stock traders and
go talk to some venture capitalists. They aren't quite giddy (after the
'80s and '90s and '00s, beware all giddiness), but they are optimistic
about an imminent tide of innovations in technology, energy and
transportation. Recall, please, the national mood in the mid-'70s:
after the 1960s party, we found ourselves in a slough of despondency,
with an oil crisis, a terrible recession, a kind of Weimarish embrace
of decadence, national malaise — and at that very dispirited moment,
Microsoft and Apple were founded. The next transformative, moneymaking
technologies and businesses are no doubt coming soon to a garage near

The present chastening can't mean turning into a nation of
overcautious, unambitious scaredy-cats. This is the moment for business
to think different and think big. The great dying off of
quintessentially 20th century businesses presents vast opportunity for
entrepreneurs. People will still need (greener) cars, still want to
read quality journalism, still listen to recorded music and all the
rest. And so as some of the huge, dominant, old-growth trees of our
economic forest fall, the seedlings and saplings — that is, the people
burning to produce and sell new kinds of transportation and media in
new, economic ways — will have a clearer field in which to grow.