Politically opposing forces find middle ground in friendly fued
Published: Thursday, September 6, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 6, 2012 02:09
Students gathered in the Memorial Student Center Ballroom Wednesday evening to learn about current global economic issues from two politically polarized icons. However, the two self-proclaimed opposites — Forbes Magazine editor Steven Forbes and former Secretary of Labor under the Clinton Administration Robert Reich — found themselves more alike than different.
The symposium, put on by the MSC Wiley Lecture Series and MSC SCONA, was titled the “Rise of the Rest: Embracing a Newer World Order.”
During the event, Forbes and Reich offered their opinions on what the U.S. must do to return as a stable global economy, considering the nation’s recent lag in economic growth.
The four most productive economies in the world currently after the U.S., known as the “BRIC” countries, are Brazil, Russia, India and China. Forbes said BRIC countries have seen the “pathway” that the U.S. has demonstrated and are catching up.
Both analysts agree that a competitive global economy isn’t the cause of America’s dwindling economic growth, but rather domestic issues.
Reich was the first to address the issue. He said he’s not worried about the growing competition, because economic competition is beneficial for America. Rather than outside forces being the source for the downward spiral in the American economy, he said the issue lies in internal failures.
“If there’s a failure in the U.S.,” Reich said. “The failing is that we aren’t investing enough or well enough in our ‘human capital.’”
Reich promoted a “bottom-up” style of economics, one in which Americans grow together. He also said the government must start investing in its infrastructure in order for us to reach our full potential.
“The major asset in a nation is not the corporation, it’s the people,” Reich said.
On the other hand, Forbes promoted a free market.
To re-emerge as a global power, Forbes argued that the U.S. must establish a solidified value for the dollar, take down trade barriers, as well as implement regulation. Forbes predicted that five years from now, the dollar will be backed by gold in order to stabilize the value.
The event offered stimulating discussion and shed light on the need for students to be educated on the global economy they will enter after graduation.
Brandon Pichanick, graduate student at Mays Business School, attended the event to broaden his mindset on America’s role in global economics. He said he hopes this campus gains a passion for issues beyond America’s borders.
“I’m looking for people to start thinking outside of their College Station-box,” Pichanick said. “If we don’t open our minds we’re going to get bypassed.”