After eight years of extraordinary monetary programs implemented by central banks such as the Fed, and crony stimulus packages created by Congress and the White House, there has actually been little to show in the general economy during this period except for declines in GDP and a new 'part-time' job market paradigm.
The fact of the matter is that all industries in a given economy eventually reach a point of peak production, where either a lack of innovation, or the cost of that production, leads to declining sales and revenues. We saw this in the steel industry during the late 1970's and early 80's, and are now seeing it in the field of technology where consumer products such as Smartphones and televisions are treading water because all that is now being produced in a given business cycle are adaptations of the old rather than innovations of a new.
Interestingly however, the next great innovations may be coming from the need side of the ledger rather than the discretionary. By this I mean that industries such as healthcare, education, and energy will very soon require a paradigm shift that will make each one cheaper, yet just as potent for the consumer.
In the realm of energy we are seeing a push globally for newer and cleaner energy sources to replace petroleum and to make energy less expensive for both residential and industrial use. Innovators like Elon Musk are stretching the boundaries of this progress but like the Westinghouse's of yesteryear, and the General Electrics of today, corporations are waiting for someone else to invent the product so they can then co-opt it into their own business models rather than investing themselves in the innovations of tomorrow.
In education the model is much more entrenched, and thus the cost-basis of education is that much greater. Bureaucracy and ideological instruction have driven the costs of learning to astronomical heights while at the same time lowering the value of the product because there is little incentive in a state run monopoly to provide the best product to consumers. And eventually the old models of classrooms and campuses will be replaced with computers and the internet since children at even the youngest ages can accomplish more with a mouse and a search engine than they can with teachers and their idiotic models and curriculums.
And while innovations in both of these industries, that of energy and education, will lead to a combination of better standards of living for all it will also lead to a downsizing of millions of jobs as those in the fields of petroleum and teaching will have to adapt to a new vocation or become unemployable.
Yet there is also a third industry that stands on the cusp of an old axiom that teaches that necessity is the mother of invention, and that industry of course is that of healthcare. For years the cost of insurance, medical visits, and of course pharmaceuticals have risen almost exponentially while the services received for each have declined sharply. And much of this has been due to the monopolies of a few powerful corporations and their control over politicians and medical associations.
So what new innovations or opportunities are out there for the American people to both profit from, and even improve their lifestyles in healthcare at a time when their premiums from Obamacare are about to virtually bankrupt millions of people? The answer for many, at least in the short term, may come from a plant that is found to grow on the side of the road.
On Nov. 8 five more states will have referendum votes to decide whether to legalize marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use. And looking at the success of legalization in the states of Colorado and Washington, yes votes could mean billions of dollars of real growth for both businesses and government coffers.
Nearly 100 years ago marijuana and its sister product hemp where vilified and later made illegal through lobbying efforts by monopolies in the pharmaceutical and fabric industries. And it has only been through the efforts done within the alternative health and media industries that has brought clarity to the effects that corporate and government propaganda had imposed on society in regards to the true benefits of this agricultural crop.
According to several studies there are upwards of 50 different beneficial effects from taking marijuana in any of its multiple forms. And this alone can save tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars each year for Americans who today are stuck buying pills and services from Big Pharma that only treat their illnesses rather than curing them.
But perhaps the two biggest benefits of all from legalizing marijuana are the creation of new jobs and businesses that almost anyone can do, even at home, along with massive cost savings for municipal and state governments in no longer having to investigate or prosecute pot offenders. In fact, according to statistics out of both Washington and Colorado, it is estimated that besides the tens of millions of dollars in new tax revenues received from the legal sale of marijuana, these states are also saving hundreds of millions in unnecessary law enforcement and court costs for investigating and trying drug offenders who simply use marijuana as a recreational or medicinal drug.
As we saw just last month with the Epipen scandal, the primary reasons for the skyrocketing costs in healthcare are almost solely tied to government regulation and monopolistic practices by corporations. And it is exactly this type of cronyism that has led to the decline in American prosperity, which in just a few days the voters of a few states can alleviate if they truly want to break the trend of stagnant innovation.