Is The Economic Meltdown Good For Us?

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

you.

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.

Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.