Can Technology Solve Economic Disparity?

Can Technology Solve Economic Disparity?

Two days ago, I was at a Public Policy Institute of America (PPIA) forum on “The Disadvantages of Traditional College Education.” This is a forum on a variety of topics dealing with higher education. During the meeting, a panelist spoke about the disadvantages of technology. There were three main disadvantages mentioned that included lack of job security, decreased investment, and course regimens that are too difficult.

 

The first disadvantage was a statement by a panelist from the Minnesota School of Business and Technology, which stated, “To be successful at creating a new job in the twenty-first century, especially one that does not require having the prerequisite technology and skills of yesterday, we need to be able to be very creative, very quickly, and very efficiently. And that may require taking some technology off the shelf, depending upon where you’re located.” This might like an odd statement considering that Minnesota is the fifth largest state in the United States, but it’s true. Even though we have many smaller states, we still have some pretty big business leaders here.

 

Two of our panelists from Minnesota spoke about this at their recently concluded Public Policy Institute of America (PPIA) forum on “Can Technology Solve Disparity?” They were Dr. Robert Taggert, University of Minnesota, and Mr. James P. Regan, President of the Minnesota School of Business and Technology. Both of them spoke about their views on the topic. Dr. Taggert opined that “We’ve been lucky in Minnesota, we’ve been able to attract some of the greatest minds in business here, and we’ve had some of the best research universities as well, which has helped us develop some of the best programs in the world.” On the other hand, he went on to say, “There is still a great deal of opportunity for those who are willing to get out of the traditional educational system and try something different.”

Science and Technology

Then, Mr. James P. Regan gave his testimony before the March for Science and Technology (MSUPSC), stating that, “I would submit to you that we are moving toward a future which will soon see the birth of a third industrial revolution, which will almost certainly be known as the ‘age of engineering. I predict. And the productivity explosion that we’ve seen over the past few decades is now starting to level off. The two main factors that have included to this, the Internet and globalization, are coming into their own.” “I believe that we will carry on to see real increases in productivity growth, in employment rates, and the rate of economic growth.”

 

Ave in Brooklyn Mayor Bloomberg also spoke at the march in support of a focus on science and technology. He has stated, “It’s time to put aside the politics and make common cause with the powers that be. We need the best education system in the world, and we need it now more than ever. We need to reverse the decline of the manufacturing base of the nation.”

 

The mayor did state that he didn’t think that the city could ever return to the highs that it had enjoyed in the past. However, he did express the hope that the city could lead the nation in economic growth. After all, when it comes to the recent spat between Microsoft and Netscape Communications, it looks as though Brooklyn may be losing its lead in high-tech development. The New York County Economic Development Corporation released a study that indicated that the county was losing out on an estimated $6 billion in investment over the next seven years. Can technology help us rise and continue to lead the way that we’ve come as a nation?

NYC Economic Development Corporation

The NYC Economic Development Corporation is part of the New York County DFL Party. The party is responsible for many of the issues facing the city of New York today, and the recent spat between Microsoft and Netscape Communications is just one of them. Jon Bitzer, Chair of the NY County Economic Development Corporation and Commission Chair, was quoted in the New York Times saying that “If you’re looking for an ideal place to hold an economic event, looking to have a meeting with corporate and venture capitalists, looking for a location that gives everything you need for a successful gathering or conference, then the county has a perfect fit for you.” About the recent spat, Mr. Bitzer went on to say, “This wasn’t done in the heat of any emotion. This was done as a business owner’s mistake.”

 

Of course, some people were not happy about Mr. Bitzer’s comments, including Mary Sanchez, Executive Vice President of Policy Analysis for Xerox, and John Van de Kleine, Executive Director of Policy and Research Xerox. They stated, “It is unfortunate that a member of the New York County Economic Development Committee expressed this opinion in a confidential, behind the scene capacity without providing any background information to the committee members or the public.” In other words, someone in a personal capacity had to leak this information to embarrass someone else. We’ll see if the county and state officials will take any action against Jon Bitzer, and we’ll also see if he resigns from his position as County Commissioner of New York.

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