Why hardly anyone in the U.S. economy feels prosperous anymore

A couple of years ago, in an obvious moment of poor judgement, the Kauffman Foundation placed this rag on its list of the top 50 economics blogs in America. So from time to time I feel compelled to write about economic issues and this Labor Day holiday in the U.S. provides a good excuse for doing so now. In a sense you could say I inherited this gig because my parents began their careers in the 1940s working for the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This first of two columns looks at employment numbers in the current recovery while the second will try to explain why the economy has been […]

The Final Frontier

When I was in school we had the occasional class discussion in history or social studies about the role of the frontier in U.S. economic development. Back then (this was the 1960s) if the teacher was sharp this would sometimes segue into a discussion about the implications for America of being without an obvious frontier — a condition that was widely known even then. Those conversations have stilled for some reason with the rise of what seems to me to be societal stupidity, but it is my growing sense that this is at the heart of our current economic malaise. We need a new frontier.

America has had several important frontiers in its 235 years. First […]

The Cringely 2010 (Not in Silicon Valley) Startup Tour

Small companies create jobs in America.

According to a recent study by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, companies less than five years old generated nearly two-thirds of the new jobs created in the U. S. in 2007. But what’s even more important is that without these startups more jobs would be lost than created, the U. S. economy would permanently shrink and America would eventually lose its superpower status, simple as that.

This is because big companies grow by increasing scale and productivity, which is to say by reducing the number of jobs per unit of sales, while startups grow by inventing cool stuff. See the difference?

The startups that most reliably become giant American […]