Change to enable wealth creation

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

I agree with the Chairman of IBM. Circulating one trillion dollars, even in the form of infrastructure projects, will not create long-term wealth. Let’s invest the money in helping Americans to be creative.

There is no short term fix, is there? We have to think, to behave and to act differently. And I feel that we all want longer term, sustainable change. Not more of the same enabled by enormous debt.

At any rate, here is a portion of Mr. Palmisano’s remarks. Complete transcript.

We shouldn’t undertake projects simply for the sake of creating economic activity. Rather than just stimulate, we should transform.

Let’s seize this opportunity to create more and better jobs, cultivate valuable skills, and not simply repair but prepare our economy for the 21st century. The best news of all is that investing in innovation will cost less and yield faster results than investing in renovation.

This view is grounded not in the headlines of the moment, but in the facts of what is now possible technologically for businesses of all sizes. American businesses have the capacity to transform the systems through which the world literally works. The planet isn’t just getting smaller and “flatter,” it’s also becoming smarter. Intelligence now undergirds the way everything operates.

Smarter infrastructure is by far our best path to creating new jobs and stimulating growth. We at IBM were asked to map this out by President-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, and our research shows that a $30 billion stimulus investment in just three areas — smart grids, health-care IT and broadband — could yield almost one million new jobs within one year. That’s possible because these kinds of infrastructure have significantly greater economic and societal multiplier effects than traditional infrastructure like bridges and highways.