The financial crisis calls on utilities to invest in America’s future.
True story: At the dinner table recently, my 11 year-old son—who’s running for 6th grade student council—bemoaned the arguments he’s having with other candidates. I asked what they’re arguing about, and he said “Everything.”
“Oh really? What’s your position on the mortgage bailout.”
“It sucks!” he blurted.
I countered, “But if we don’t do it, the financial system will collapse.”
To my astonishment, he answered, “Well, sometimes it takes some pain before things can get better.”
Pundits and politicians say the current financial crisis represents a tipping point, and possibly the end of American preeminence in the global economy. Germany’s Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück said in a teleconference in late September, “The U.S. will lose its status as the superpower of the world financial system.” And in an article titled “How to Lose an Empire—Gracefully,” Forbes magazine Executive Editor Paul Maidment wrote, “While it is difficult to imagine the U.S. accepting a diminishing status gracefully, it will have to find a destiny in that seam where finance and commerce meet politics and strategy.”
But if these people are right, the financial crisis marks not just a challenge, but a moment of opportunity for America—and especially our energy and technology industries—to chart a path to a better future.