2010 Predictions

The folks at asked me to one of their guest columnists on what to expect in 2010. You can read my column here.

As you will read, I don’t see any big changes in the year ahead. Yes the national economy will improve. And so will Michigan, but we will continue to lag the nation. That includes West Michigan–where MiBiz is located. We have not done anything to reverse the trends that have made this such an awful decade.

As I wrote, the issue in 2010 is not what can we do to turn things around quickly. The answer is that policy makers and community leaders don’t have any levers powerful enough to make an immediate difference in the economy. What matters is what decisions we make to put Michigan back on a path to prosperity over the long term.

Its not what we want to hear, but its reality. There is no quick fix for what ails the Michigan economy. Our fundamental problem is that we have been slow to adjust to the new realities of a flattening world. A world where growth in advanced economies is increasingly knowledge-based and where talent is the asset that matters most.

The Michigan turnaround, compared to the nation, will start only when we focus on improving our ranking of thirty fourth in college attainment. That is our fundamental challenge! Low education attainment regions and states will be low prosperity regions and states. In our case, more than likely, one of the ten poorest states. We can do better! But it will require us letting go of what made us prosperous in the past and getting on a new path: one that is aligned with the new realities.

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