Pulitzer Prize-Winning Economist Agrees with America21
Joseph Stiglitz, the Pulizer Prize-winning economist and author of “The Price of Inequality: How Today’s Divided Society Endangers Our Future,” agrees with America21 data and describes for Jon Stewart, host of the Daily Show, the economic landscape that underscores the message that America21 has consistently offered to the American public. Stiglitz says:
“Inequality has become one of the major problems facing our country.”
“We have become the most unequal of all the advanced industrial countries … with the least equality of opportunity.”
“So different from our myth of the American dream.”
Equality of economic opportunity is part and parcel of the “Dream” that Dr. Martin Luther King preached about. Although he is remembered most for his speech on civil rights and the brotherhood of man in August 1963 on the Washington Mall, it was Dr. King’s focus on economics that led to his assassination in Memphis in 1968.
Today, inequality of economic opportunity plagues the nation. One of the three primary goals of America21 is to connect the economically disconnected to regional innovation clusters and economic opportunity. Stiglitz says:
“Market forces don’t exist in a vacuum. We shape those market forces.”
“The nature of inequality in the United States has changed dramatically in the last 30 years and in ways that is both bad for our economy and obviously increased the inequality.”
America21 has delved into data that support Stiglitz’s claim.
The market forces today, which America21 calls the 21st century innovation economy, is a construct of strategic public-private partnerships that put into play public pensions alongside private capital to foster and nurture the development of a landscape of risk capital investments in prospective fast-growing startups and early stage growth companies that would ramp quickly with an infusion of capital. The strategy of ramping fast-growth companies would presumably produce jobs for everyone and increase wealth across America.
That process worked only for the targeted environments. Unfortunately, those economic strategies failed to include investments toward developing innovation infrastructures and access networks in virtually all minority communities across America. That failure exacerbated the inequality of opportunity that already existed 30 years ago.
Today, America21 speaks directly to that point made by the Pulitzer Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz.
America21’s Chief Strategist and Evangelist, Johnathan Holifield coined the term “Inclusive Competitiveness.” One of the three primary goals of America21 is to promote Inclusive Competitiveness within established innovation ecosystems across America.
Targeted regional networks of entrepreneurial industry clusters develop significant economic competitiveness by investing in STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) and workforce development, high-growth entrepreneurship and channels of access to risk capital investment. This innovation infrastructure is nonexistent in the disconnected sectors of society.
NORTECH: Northeast Ohio Inclusive Economic Strategies
In Northeast Ohio, the tech-based economic development engine Nortech covers 21 counties and is responsible for producing innovative resources for entrepreneurs, like Jumpstart, Inc and Jumpstart America. Today, Nortech is focused on bridging the economic divide. It has taken the lead to appoint the nation’s first-ever Vice President of Inclusive Competitiveness, Johnathan M. Holifield. Within that appointment is a profound recognition of the economic disparities, as well as a public statement that Nortech is committed to leading the way toward closing the gap of inequality of opportunity.
Media should take note; economic history is being made in Northeast Ohio. Nortech’s example is one we hope to see emulated nationwide among economic policymakers.
INFUSION OF INCLUSION
America21 recognizes the fact that no amount of job growth and wealth creation will sustain America’s economic competitiveness as long as it continues to leave vast amounts of its citizenry ill-prepared, ill-equipped and completely disconnected from the economic strategies that impact generations of Americans. Inclusion is key. Inclusion is essential. Inclusion leads to equality of opportunity.
The recent PolicyBridge report, “Infusion of Inclusion,” heavily influenced by America21’s Johnathan Holifield, is a reminder that Northeast Ohio cannot produce any sustainable economic strategy unless it includes investment in all of its pools of talent. The rhetoric ruminating around the presidential campaign focuses more on the tax incentives to spur innovation than investment in STEM-educated people and providing necessary resources and infrastructures that empower people to be creative and take risks inherent in entrepreneurship. Stiglitz says:
“This notion that innovation depends on the tax rate, I think is absurd.”
Innovation is the result of investing in creative talent. Such investment is required to produce more innovative entrepreneurs and deal flow in urban regions wherein economically disconnected communities receive disproportionate amounts of charitable giving in comparison to investment that reaps measurable outcomes.
America21 recognizes the need to change the economic narrative in disconnected communities in order to bridge the communications gap between those who were left behind in a 20th century economic construct and those who speak the language of a fast-paced, knowledge-based, tech-driven 21st century global innovation economy.