The news is out that Massachusetts is the only state to lose population according to the latest census figures. Charles Stein weighs in on why this occurred in this article from today's Boston Globe.
Stein writes: "The optimists look at the numbers and say: Okay, we've taken some hits, but there is every reason to think the worst is behind us. Massachusetts has come back before and it will come back again because this state has a powerful intellectual base and a leading position in industries such as finance, education, medicine, biotechnology, and electronics. Those industries should remain magnets for bright, talented people -- maybe not a lot of people, but enough to assure our continued prosperity. Like Sweden, we will grow slowly, but stay affluent, a perfectly acceptable combination."
Then on the Editorial page Bill Galvin weighs in with some suggestions on how to avoid further loses.
Galvin writes: "Finger-pointing will not solve the problem. Massachusetts has unique assets and resources that should be marshaled to generate new jobs. We are still known worldwide as a destination for higher education, healthcare, and research. In the past, the cluster effect of our universities, hospitals, and research institutions created an environment that led to substantial job creation.
But world market conditions have rapidly changed. A new product, technology, or service invented or developed here seldom is produced or perfected here because it is not cost efficient. Massachusetts will never win a race to the bottom when it comes to production costs, nor would it want to. We can only win by emphasizing our creativity and inventiveness."
Massachusetts needs to re-imagine itself. Yes, I am consciously borrowing Tom Peters' line. What will life be like after the Red Sox have won the World Series?
What will life be like with another Bush term as president?
How will MA successfully play in this increasingly competitive global economy?
Thanks to Marcus Buckingham, I think we should start with our strengths. We do have a high technology/bio-technology basis to work with. We do have a great educational environment to work with.
We will need to work together (optimists and pessimists, per Stein and without finger pointing, per Galvin) to pull this off.
Let's go Massachusetts!