A theme that emerges from Michael Lewis’s blowout feature in Vanity Fairs on Iceland’s financial meltdown is that the country shifted away from its core business–fishing–towards something it barely understood–banking.
It got us to thinking: What can the U.S. learn from this? We have strengths, too, which ones should we focus on?
Barn Raising: You know how hard this is? No thanks. We’re not so sure it’s even lucrative anymore.
Banking: Let’s move on.
Auto Industry: Let’s move on, and quickly. Before they see us and ask for money.
Flight: One of the greatest conveniences ever invented, but a real money pit.
Innovation: This is pretty promising. The telephone, light bulb, Snuggie and Sham Wow are all great inventions. And needless to say, they were all born in the U.S.A.
Entertainment: Two words: Weezy F. Baby. One word: Batman. We are awesome at this, and we can export it out the wazoo. The only problem is the internet has driven the economic value to almost zero.
Cowboys: As an industry it died off a while ago, and we just had eight years of a cowboy running the show with spotty results at best.
Looks like the government has already decided for us, by shoveling money to renewable energy projects and green industry in the stimulus. Not even a few bucks marked for singing and dancing near as we can tell. Fine with us, for now. Green needs the money and it’s a place of relatively promising innovation.
But if this bet by the government proves to be wrong, then the next stimulus package better be filled with earmarks for national tap dancing lessons. Otherwise we’ll end up like Iceland, with Michael Lewis asking Obama why the U.S. stopped supporting its vibrant arts scene.
(image: Hussain Isa)
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