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Growing the Economy by Growing Healthcare: Serious Medicine Strategy as an Economic Strategy

Posted Nov 14 2009 10:02pm

Mike "Mish" Shedlock, an investment analyst, projects that US unemployment could stay above 10 percent through 2015, and stay above 8 percent for a decade.

We aren't economic experts here at SMS, so we report, you decide. But whatever the unemployment numbers prove to be over the next decade, under current conditions, they don't seem destined to be very good.

For all the discussion of economic stimulus, as Serious Medicine Strategist Jim Woodhill says, "The world economic situation can be summed up as, 'desperately seeking demand.' And healthcare is perhaps the most voracious source of demand there is." Indeed.

According to the Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics, seven of the 20 fastest-growing occupations in the US are healthcare related. The BLS further notes that healthcare is adding jobs, even during the recession.

Those on the left often think of "stimulus," as building roads, but the problem with that strategy, as the Japanese have discovered, is that contemporary road-building is not very labor intensive. In the 30s, to build a road, hundreds of men might be swinging picks. But today, roadbuilding requires relatively few workers and lot of machinery. We're all for higher productivity--not many people particularly enjoy doing manual labor outdoors--but America still faces the issue of getting people into jobs. How to do that?

Of course, not everyone is a fan of "stimulus" packages. But conservatives and libertarians--especially if the GOP regains power in 2010 or 2012--must grapple with unemployment, and what to do about it. So they, too, will need a strategy for generating more real jobs here in the US.

And so we come back to healthcare, which is hard to outsource or offshore. The opportunity for growing the economy by growing healthcare has been a steady theme here at SMS. bbbAs we wrote back in August, taking note of ideas from Segway inventor Dean Kamen, Serious Medicine has great potential to be an economic driver, because medical equipment is one of our remaining competitive industries, worldwide.

And we also quoted Nobel Laureate Robert Fogel in September, making many of the same points, reminding us that healthcare can pull along many other industries, including construction, finance, and manufacturing.

Serious Medicine Strategy is good for health, and it's also good for the economy. A win-win!
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