Oklahoma’s Economic Development Council (OEDC) recently held its’ annual summit, October 3-4, 2011, in Norman, OK.
The title of this year’s summit was “The New Oklahoma Economy – Global, Social, Sustainable, Strategic” and, as the title suggests, our “betters” are planning the future for the rest of us.
In a nutshell – the new economy is:
- Global – The increased utilization of multinational corporations – and foreign direct investment – to further develop a ‘knowledge-based economy’;
- Social – Both the business and government sectors will be increasing their utilization of social media -Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter – to market their products and to further the ideas of sustainable development. Social media are used as data aggregation tools;
- Sustainable – Passive technology based jobs (i.e. Green Energy/Clean Energy). Only a few will qualify for the higher-paid positions, while the rest of the population will operate in support positions, i.e. service industries;
- Strategic – Meaning public/private partnerships, now called strategic alliances. Generally, these are 3-way partnerships between an anchor business, academia, and the government. The anchor will generally be a multinational corporation “for the big projects”.
One notable quote came from Erika Lucas, Global Business Services at the OK Department of Commerce when she responded to a question from the audience about trade policies and lost American jobs.
Lucas responded, “Something else to add, when you look at the portfolio of jobs that have gone to China, Mexico, you have to really ask the question of whether we want those jobs back. Okay, we’re talking advanced manufacturing. I mean, what jobs, look at the portfolios of the jobs that have left, and more than likely those were not high paid jobs, especially those that went to China. Now I’m not saying that all of them were not, but, you know, I do hear a lot of, you know, oh, workers investments, a lot of the jobs are coming back from China, but are they the right type of jubs we’re hunting for? In my opinion, they’re not.”
In response to the question “Is the Department of Commerce actively pursuing foreign direct investment by China?” Lucas answered, “We’re open for investments from any country…. there is a lot of interest from the Chinese to bring investment in this country…we have a trade office in China for FDI….So, the answer would be yes, we are looking at it. It is not our primary market.”
More notes on the Summit to follow shortly.