søndag 9. januar 2011

Kutt her. Invester der

Thomas Friedman, kommentator i New York Times og forfatteren bak The World is Flat og Hot, Flat and Crowded, skrev i sin siste spalte i NY Times at han nå skal skrive på en ny bok i fire måneder. Boken skal handle om på hvilke områder land og regioner må investere mer, i en tid der offentlige budsjetter skal kuttes kraftig.

"...the really hard stuff lies ahead: taking things away. We are leaving an era where to be a mayor, governor, senator or president was, on balance, to give things away to people. And we are entering an era where to be a leader will mean, on balance, to take things away from people. It is the only way we’ll get our fiscal house in order before the market, brutally, does it for us. In my book, the leaders who will deserve praise in this new era are those who develop a hybrid politics that persuades a majority of voters to cut where we must so we can invest where we must."

Hva er så de områdene der vi i følge Thomas Friedman må investere mer penger, selv om det skal kuttes andre steder. Det handler om utdanning, infrastruktur og innovasjon:

"To survive in the 21st century, America can no longer afford a politics of irresponsible profligacy. But to thrive in the 21st century — to invest in education, infrastructure and innovation — America cannot afford a politics of mindless austerity either. The politicians we need are what I’d call “pay-as-you-go progressives” — those who combine fiscal prudence with growth initiatives to make their cities, their states or our country great again. Everyone knows the first rule of holes: When you’re in one, stop digging. But people often forget the second rule of holes: You can only grow your way out. You can’t borrow your way out."

Både som spaltist i New York Times og som forfatter synes jeg Tom Friedman pleier å treffe vår tids viktigste temaer svært godt. Og denne nye boken ser ikke ut til å være noe unntak.