“Today nearly one-third of all Americans are poor or nearly poor. One in three poor Americans live in the suburbs. If you’re poor in the Seattle, Atlanta or Chicago regions, you’re more likely than not living outside the city limits.
“Only 34 percent believe their company has a well-defined innovation strategy, 46 percent say they have become more risk averse in considering new ideas and 45 percent see their company pursuing a portfolio of smaller, safer opportunities rather than seeking the next breakthrough. On a variety of measures—initial idea generation, product development, manufacturing, testing, commercialization and launch, portfolio optimization and realizing a positive ROI from innovation—executives are less satisfied today than in 2009.”
“Americans drive fewer total miles today than we did eight years ago, and fewer per person than we did at the end of Bill Clinton’s first term. The unique combination of conditions that fueled the Driving Boom—from cheap gas prices to the rapid expansion of the workforce during the Baby Boom generation—no longer exists.
“The argument, it’s worth clarifying, is not simply that cheap housing makes a metro area attractive; if that were true the Midwest would be booming. It is that a very elastic housing supply in the face of steady demand will allow for massive population growth.
“We argue that the shift from being a goods-producing, manufacturing-based economy to a service economy—what some have termed “deindustrialization”—is causing the pace of economic recoveries to slow. As is typical of economies recovering from the bursting of an asset bubble and a financial crisis, the recovery from the 2007 recession would be longer than usual. But our research suggests that the rise of the service sector has made it even longer than in the past.
“The environmental factors in these studies range from the seemingly minor, such as kids’ plate sizes, to bigger challenges, such as school schedules that may keep teens from getting sufficient sleep. But they are part of an even longer list: the ubiquity of fast food, changes in technology, fewer home-cooked meals, more food advertising, an explosion of low-cost processed foods and increasing sugary drink serving sizes (pdf) as well as easy access to unhealthy snacks in vending machines, at sports games and in nearly every setting children inhabit—these are just a handful of environmental factors research has linked to increasing obesity, and researchers are starting to pick apart which among them play bigger or lesser roles in making kids supersized.
“as China becomes richer, is it destined to pass the United States as the world’s most inventive nation? The question is all the more pertinent because many experts contend that America’s inventive spirit is already flagging. As the Silicon Valley venture capitalist Peter Thiel put it to me in an interview, American innovation in recent decades has been remarkably narrowly based. “It has been confined largely to information technology and financial services,” he said. “By contrast in transportation, for instance, we are hardly more advanced today than we were 40 years ago. The story is similar in treating cancer.