Bruce Nussbaum makes a great point on his blog about what is happening or not happening in the economic policy debate, as exemplified by the discussions in Davos:
A “transformational crisis” is the term used in the opening session of the World Economic Forum by founder Klaus Schwab to describe the state of the global economy today. Institutions are not working, unemployment is soaring and we have to first manage the crisis, then manage a new world post-crisis.
Well, if we are in a transformation crisis then we need to have people who know how to transform in power to do so. Transformers (innovators, designers, design thinkers) are not running big sessions, talking on-stage about major policy changes or debating top politicians about how best to create new institutions to deal with our new economic circumstances. Many transformers are here but they relegated to small, minor sessions or lunches that will have little impact.
Most of this year’s World Economic Forum’s big, public sessions at the Conference Center will have old faces, many belonging to people who got us into this mess in the first place. Do I really want to hear a banker tell me about the financial mess?
Other old faces will be politicians who will be offering up old solutions–more regulation, more government spending, more of the same of prescriptions. Unfortunately, politicians are the ones picking up the mess from the private sector folks who lost it and they are doing it with the tools they know.
As he points out, we are in danger of the same dynamic happening in Washington. With the critics pushing the stimulus package more and more into the traditional box and away from transformational, we may be losing a big opportunity.
However, the Administration is still a newborn – so we will see how things continue to play out.