Markets In Everything: Eyesight for the Blind
MP: In the midst of all of the gloom and doom we hear about daily, the pending fiscal cliff, talk of a double-dip recession, The Great Stagnation, etc. we still hear inspiring stories like this on a regular basis, a confirmation that technology, innovation and ingenuity march on, and deliver advances that make the future ever-brighter all the time. It's a demonstration that our "ultimate resource" - America's human resources, human capital and entrepreneurial talent - are still strong, and the vitality and dynamism of the U.S. economy will prevail. The U.S. economy has experienced 33 recessions since around the time of the Civil War, and has successfully emerged after each one into a new cycle of growth and expansion, and there's no reason that this last recession and the current expansion will be any different.
As one example, when we look back on the period of U.S. history from 1870-1900, nobody describes that period as one of seven severe economic recessions, or a period when the U.S. economy was in recession 179 months out of 336 months, or more than half of that time period. Instead, when we reflect on that period today, we think of the many amazing, game-changing inventions that emerged during that era despite the tough economic conditions, including the typewriter, air brakes, tungsten steel, barbed wire, telephone, internal combustion engine, phonograph, moving pictures, a longer-lasting light bulb, player piano, machine gun, gas-engine motorcycle, radar, gramaphone, contact lenses, escalator, zipper, bicycle frame, vacuum cleaner, zeppelin and the radio. Likewise, a hundred years from now people will look back on this period of history more for its innovations (3D printing, iPhone, iPad, robotics, nanotechnology, advanced drilling technologies for oil and gas, and prosthetic technology for millions of sight-impaired people, etc.) than for the fact that we went through the Great Recession, which in comparison was relatively mild compared to the severe, recessionary conditions of the 1870-1900 period that included a five-year and a three-year recession.