Brenda Cooper

Some signs of hope on the horizon

I went out for coffee this afternoon, and in the rainy fall bluster, the Tully’s I found was nearly full.  I ended up sharing a seat with a gentleman who was dressed entirely too well for a Veteran’s Day holiday, so I asked him about it.  Turns out the black suit was all about a job fair, and he’s one of the growing ranks of jobless.  Since I may be laying off staff or cutting back hours for staff at work, we spent some time talking about the economy.  In the general run of our short conversation, I told him that I thought it would get better soon.  After I told him that, I thought about it , and determined that it wasn’t a platitude meant to make him feel better, but rather something I believe.  So here’s some of my logic:

Many of the people I know are “Creative Class” people – entrepreneurs, writers, artists, business folk or various kinds.  Most of them are generally happy about the election outcome, and pretty much no matter what happens next on the home front, they’ll keep that hope at least through the first year or so of the new administration.   Hope fuels willingness to take risk.  That means jobs and maybe new breakthroughs in various areas.

I’m anticipating both an increase in investment in alternative energy and an increase in returns from the not-insignificant investment we’ve already made.  The conversation that I’ve seen about alternative energy in most newspapers and other types of media I read has shifted from “We need to do it” to “these are the obstacles.”  For example, I just read an article that delved into the difficulty getting power that is generated far away from current distribution centers in to where it’s needed (If I have a coal plant next to my generating station, and I turn off my coal plat and replace it with wind power that is generated 750 miles away, what does that do to the reliability of the power grid?)  Well, we’re good at solving those kinds of problems, and we’re finally framing them so we can solve them.  Alternative energy increases our international safety, fuels our economy with jobs here, and spurs consumer buying.  In addition to helping save the world, which by itself is not insignificant.

I believe the housing market, at least in the Seattle area, is close to bottom.  Maybe not all the way there, but I’ve heard of a lot more first-time buyers lately.  I doubt it will rebound fast because credit markets are likely to stay tight for awhile, and lower priced housing will probably swing up faster, but the down-slide feels close to over.

Last, my own speaking business is picking up.  I don’t market myself, since I don’t have much time and I do this partly for fun.  But I’ve had three calls about talks in the last two weeks. 

Futurists have no crystal ball.  I may be wrong.  But I’d be willing to bet lunch this is the time to start looking for investments.  And I do hope the gentleman I was talking to today finds a job. 

 

 

 

One Response so far

  1. 1. Glen Hiemstra

    Hi Brenda, been meaning to say this new site is gorgeous. Congratulations.

    Hope you are mostly right, about hope. You and I have been at this for a while, and these times are as wild as any we have seen. My thought is we are wiping the slate clean in a number of ways, opening to at least the possibility of change. See my “hope” blog entry at:
    http://www.futurist.com/2008/11/07/hope/