Innovation and Jobs

Before leaving his post as Director of the National Economic Council at the end of this year, Larry Summers gave a speech about the future of innovation and employment in America.  At an event organized by the Harvard Business Review and McKinsey, Summers argued that while America today remains the vanguard of innovation and technology, innovation alone will struggle to produce jobs and careers for the American  middle class.   “How do you channel direct innovation so that more of the work takes place near the innovation in the United States?” Summers asked.

According to some, the answer to that question may lie in green technology.  General Electric CEO Jeffery Immelt claimed that green technology is going to be one of the deciding factors that determines whether or not American innovation will result in job creation and economic prosperity.  With competition proving fierce among other nations,  Immelt argued, “The rest of the world is moving 10 times faster than we are, and that’s going to mean someday fewer jobs, it’s going to mean less energy security, it’s going to mean lots of other things other than just climate change.”  He also stated that job creation in America will result when companies receive “appropriate funding for innovation.” At  a Wilson Center on the Hill event earlier this year Ethan Zindler, Head of North American Research at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, argued not only does green technology present and environmental boon, but can serve to benefit the American workforce in the long run as well.

Posted by: Wesley Milillo

Sources: BusinessWeek, InformationWeek, Washington Post.

Photo credit: Larry_Summers-2 courtesy of flickr user


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