In his post, Alvis identifies some of the factors that contribute to the on-going economic downturn:
The erosion of traditional American jobs continues unabated and we can expect it to steadily worsen. From a macro perspective, there is simply no silver-bullet counter to the converging forces of globalization, automation, overvalued real estate prices, national debt, mega quantitative easing (printing more U.S. dollars to buy back our bonds so they don’t tank - a new round of $600 billion has just been proposed), mounting international resistance to U.S. monetary policy, massive overseas spending (Iraq, Afghanistan) general inefficiencies in govt, defense, education, oversight, and social services. Despite weak signs of life in the country’s massive services sector, which comprises an astounding 80% of U.S. jobs, last week’s dismal jobs report reinforces the steady downhill march.
I find it telling that all of them are governmental/regulatory in nature.
That said, I also find it refreshing (if not at all unexpected of the man) that his prescriptions are all oriented around the individual human, alone or in organised groups, creating their own relief without recourse (or even regard) to government.
Note that I did not say in dis-regard to government. Lack of reliance does not mean rejection.
Elsewhere in the post, he says:
If our goal is to save American jobs, then it’s our responsibility to identify, vet and selectively apply these emerging solutions.
First and most obviously, we can turn to well-established, leading-edge American tech and web companies like Microsoft, Google, Apple, Intel, Cisco, IBM, Johnson Controls, Amazon, EBay for software, hardware and intelligent systems that can bring down personal and business costs and increase profit.
Even more interesting is the symbiotic relationship these companies have with their customers. Each and every one of them fundamentally depends on user generated content and participation to function. Therefore, they inherently must make the cost of participation as low as possible, and the benefits to users as high as possible
Every company Alvis identifies is dependent on government provided infrastructure just to operate and all of them have both governmental regulatory constraints and self-imposed limitations they impose on their users - Alvis' proposed Prosumers. Certainly they offer some opportunity, and the Groupon example Alvis provides is inspirational, but the problems left unstated make success through these channels much more unlikely than Alvis makes apparent (not an unexpected aspect of an introductory effort such as this one, it should be acknowledged).
All of the companies named have to offer the most user experience for the least user expense (whether financial or in usage frustration levels). All of the companies named risk additional regulatory and taxation burdens resulting from increased individual economic activity beyond that already regulated/taxed. From this it can be seen that increased usage will result in decreased usability. Methinks these won't cooperate much or for long.
All of which ignores the mores most of them practice; E-Bay discriminates against anyone wishing to exercise the tenets of the US 2nd Amendment on their site for only one example of highly dubious company conduct that inhibits the user/prosumer experience. Google is infamous for it's unethical censorship and data gathering practices.
The point being that none of the examples proffered are positioned to be quite as opportune as Alvis seems to believe. They could be, but in practice have not been to-date. Perhaps an effort to persuade them differently, developed at the local societal level, would be a practicable first step in changing this circumstance.
As is his usual practice, a complex and thoroughgoing look at the present circumstance with an eye to getting to a future we all can find fulfilling. Well done you.