Nourishing Environment Needed to Form Economic Development

Article excerpt

The best economic development strategy is to create an environment that is nourishing to entrepreneurs, said John Naisbitt.

Naisbitt, author of bestsellers "Megatrends" and "Reinventing the Corporation," was in Oklahoma City Thursday as primary speaker for an Express Services client appreciation dinner.

"The nation's economy is in really good shape," Naisbitt said. This is the end of the sixth year of growth, which is the longest in the history of the United States in peacetime.

Naisbitt expects the momentum to continue into the 1990s.

"What we have to do is not do anything," Naisbitt said. In a shifting global economy, the government should stand aside," he said.

The secret of President Ronald Reagan's success is that he has done very little, which has been entirely appropriate, Naisbitt said.

During the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, Naisbitt was special assistant to Health, Education and Welfare Secretary John W. Gardner. He also has served as assistant to the U.S. commissioner of education and to the chairman of the commission of presidential scholars.

The economy is changing from an industrial to information base and it is becoming global, he said, which is an extremely complicated process.

The economy is undergoing a restructuring of a collection of 160 to 200 economies to one global economy, he said. The new economy is not cyclical like the old industrial economy of the last 150 years, Naisbitt said.

In the new economy, there are no heights and valleys or cyclical periods, he said. In a global economy, the larger playing field tends to iron those things out.

The new economy is created by entrepreneurs, including the 750,000 new companies founded last year, not the Fortune 500, said Naisbitt. The Fortune 500 companies have been losing employees for 17 years, he said, while the new companies provide almost 90 percent of the new jobs.

The definition of an entrepreneur is someone who creates something that wasn't there before, Naisbitt said. This is the new hero of society.

The corporate mergers and takeovers are the last gasp of the old economy, he said.

"The leveraged buyouts are good to a point because they transform the managers into entrepreneurs, who want to make the company lean, mean and profitable."

"Attracting new industry is a dumb idea," Naisbitt said. "This does not create jobs anymore."

"There is a shift from the importance of the infrastructure to the quality of life, with the new economy," he said.

In an industrial economy, water, natural resources and transportation are important, but with an information economy, a company can be located anywhere, he said.

In this case, good schools, a low crime rate and cultural opportunities become important, he said.

The only booming economy in Europe is Italy due to the entrepreneurial startups, he said.

The other economies are hostile to entrepreneurs. In some countries, like England and France, it is more honorable to inherit wealth than create it, he said. …