Saturday, April 21, 2012

An Inherently Capitalistic Approach May Not Be A Good Thing

Recent history (the last 40 years, and more specifically, the last decade or so) should have given "free markets", "capitalism" and "running it like a business" a cumulative black eye. From increased market volatility, to insecure retirement, to rising health care costs, and stagnating wages, running everything like a business and allowing blind faith in the "free" market has been a spectacular failure for 99.9% of the population.

But, leave it to Republicans to beat and ride that dead horse into the ground.

Just recently in the Journal Sentinel, Dan Steininger (of BizStarts Milwaukee, Wisconsin Early-Stage Fund and Successful Entrepreneurs LLC), in an effort to laud the supposedly impressive economic power of research parks, claimed that, at the end of the day, we should all push for more public dollars being used for more private speculation because it is an "inherently capitalistic approach."

Research parks are claimed to "kick-start" economies and create jobs "that attract new companies to the region."

Steininger exclaims, "The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's Innovation Park is now under construction in Wauwatosa. Its goal is to become the largest driver of economic development for southeastern Wisconsin in the 21st-century, knowledge-based economy."

Investment in research and development (R&D) is great. Increased educational spending, also, great stuff, in the general sense of things.

Although ... The "largest driver of economic development"?

I'm just saying there should be some perspective to counter the overblown rhetoric. There are many worthwhile endeavors and programs, which are important to a majority of citizens.

Government spending is wasteful when it goes to the poor, to teachers, or to public transportation. But there's never enough money for stadiums, research parks, and other private-interest pet projects. The projects that generally benefit a select few at the expense of many.

Small cabals of "entrepreneurs" are the ones who told us to run things like a business, cut taxes, and pump more money into private investment schemes. Yet, nothing has trickled down. Wages are down, health care costs are up, and retirement is increasingly unstable and/or out of reach. I don't know about you, but to me, that's not economic growth nor job creation.

For Further Reading:
The False Promise Of The Entrepreneurial University
Research Parks
Research, Science & Technology Parks: Global Best Practices
Technology In The Garden: Research Parks & Regional Economic Development
University Related Science Parks
UWM As Economic Engine? Dream On

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