There is a thought-provoking and, I think, highly optimistic post at RealClearPolitics from Mikhail Fridman, “As Global Instability Spreads, the ‘Indigo’ Economy Rises” which I would like to commend to your attention. Here’s a snippet from it to give you the flavor:
We are entering a disruptive era driven by extraordinary levels of human creativity. A new generation of curious, strong-willed and talented individuals is unhindered by convention or the past. This new “Indigo” generation is now shaping tomorrow’s economy and creating national wealth. I use the term Indigo because it has been used to refer to children with special or unusual abilities. This is an era where abnormally talented individuals and entities are now able to realize new levels of human potential and economic achievement.
and here’s what I think is the meat of the post:
The main source of national wealth is not the resource rent but the social infrastructure that allows every person to realize his or her intellectual and creative potential. It is for this reason that Exxon, once the world’s largest company, has been overtaken by Apple and Google. This represents a paradigm shift in which creative, non-linear thinking and random ideas are turned into new scalable services in a short space of time.
Yesterday in comments we had a substantial discussion about infrastructure. Too often the role of roads and bridges in America’s vital infrastructure have been over-emphasized. Other important areas of infrastructure like sewers or the power grid don’t encompass the totality of our infrastructure.
I might argue that our most important infrastructure includes institutions like a sound currency and banking system and the rule of law. Let’s not ignore those in a slapdash run to put additional lanes on a highway or build the 153rd bridge across the Mississippi. They’re among our most valuable infrastructure and their lack is retarding the growth of many of the world’s countries.