Wall Street’s Sick Psychology of Entitlement

January 23, 2009

Of course, smart people are very good at rationalizing their fantasies, especially when the fantasy serves to make them money.

Wall Street’s Sick Psychology of Entitlement hit home to me. Do we all act this way in some form or another?

Regardless, we all need to think about how we can contribute in a productive manner to rebuilding our economic engine. And it may be that we have to all personally sacrifice to make it happen!

The Economy Is Doing Great!

January 7, 2009

Well, our work here is done. You’re welcome, central Puget Sound region!

What I really found interesting was that we’re one of only 93 metropolitan regions out of 310 that the BLS tracks that had any gains at all. Of course, they say Seattle’s always six months behind the curve of the economy anyway, and this probably doesn’t even include WaMu. So maybe we have a teeny bit more work to do to ensure long term prosperity for all…

Investment Advice from the Prosperity Blog

December 31, 2008

That is to say, never take investment advice from the Prosperity Blog…you’ll end up daytrading WaMu stock.  However, I thought this story was worth noting, not only because it’s great that biotech companies with strong links to our region did well financially.  The interesting part is why they did well: because biotech companies are, by their very nature, a long term investment.  Everyone knows that it takes years and years and plenty of patience to coax a new drug through the R&D process and the federal approval process, so they’re looking beyond the current downturn.  It’s a great reminder for economic development in our region, to remember to focus on the long term as we work to grow and sustain those industries (like biotech) in which we have or hope to develop a competitive advantage.

For example, it’s a hard time for clean tech startups to get venture funding or credit and low oil prices are a disincentive for alternative energy investment, but we believe that this is the industry of the future so we have to find ways to continue to develop it.  As Bob Drewel recently said at the Prosperity Partnership luncheon, “Now is not the time to take a step back on the investments that are going to ensure our future. Now is the time to double down!”

Things You Are Going To See a Lot More Of, Part 2

December 5, 2008


There are two parts to this story. First off, minority-owned businesses are struggling because all businesses are struggling (fyi, the economy isn’t very good right now.) Second, though, is that a lot of companies still see diversity inclusion programs (both in hiring and contracting) as extra things they do to be good corporate citizens, not vital parts of their profitability and viability. Ipso facto, as budgets get cut at large corporations, less is being spent on ensuring that the largest number of suppliers are included in the procurement process. It’s a short sighted strategy, and counterproductive, but not unexpected until we do a better job of incorporating supplier diversity best practices into the procurement process of all our region’s companies.

Things You Are Going to Start Seeing a Lot More Of…

December 5, 2008

Include this.

So far, our region has been pretty lucky in terms of cultural institutions: attendance is still pretty good, and donations are holding for the most part. It’s a mix of the fact that the recession hasn’t hit our region as hard (yet?) and that a lot of the indispensable holiday stuff is happening now. There are a lot of families who aren’t going to miss The Nutcracker with their kids no matter what. But donations and attendance are going to suffer, and a lot of the institutions that have been teetering are going to start tipping…

Back, Meet Pat

December 1, 2008

Nearly a year ago, in January, I wrote an article for the Redmond Chamber newsletter in which I asserted:

The answer to the first question is most likely yes, the United States is headed into an economic slump and likely a recession. In fact, I believe history will show the downturn started in November 2007.

More relevant to this space, I also wrote that if the Puget Sound region was to avoid a sinking recession, international trade would be our life raft. And, that held true until the worldwide financial crisis took down our international partners. Now our raft has sprung a leak and the waves of an Asian Read the rest of this entry »

More Bad News: The Social Safety Net

October 31, 2008

We’ve all heard how the bad economy most affects those who were already in trouble, but some of these stats are pretty bad (particularly when we might not have seen the worst of this recession yet):

  • Emergency food requests are up 71% on the Eastside
  • Calls to 2-1-1 for utility assistance are up 22%
  • Job seekers at YWCA Opportunity Place are up 19%

One of the foundations of our economy and one of the ways we stay a place that can attract and retain high quality employees and employers is our sense of community and our ability to take care of one another when times are tough. With budget problems for local government from city, county and state on up, social service providers are going to be asked to more for less public funding. We may need to have a regional conversation about how to bridge the gap.

UPDATE: Less help from foundations too.