The key to a stable economy – investment and innovation

With all of the debate around the job bill in D.C. these days it makes one wonder what will ultimately lead to a growing economy that is producing new jobs. At Intel we clearly understand that having a positive economic impact is a key ingredient of a successful corporate responsibility strategy. The question we have been mulling over is what is the appropriate role for us beyond our own economic performance and how we could help lead in the recovery.

Paul Otellini, Intel’s CEO, has been a passionate and consistent voice calling for Corporate America to continue to do what has made our economy successful for generations — invest and innovate. There is no doubt that Government action is necessary, but it is also true that corporations must not just wait for government action and be willing to lead or complement government action. That’s what the recently announced Invest in America Alliance is all about.

Led by Intel and supported by many other major Fortune 500 companies and venture capital firms the Alliance is focused on two things – supporting U.S. investment in growth-oriented industries and generating thousands of American jobs for college graduates. The Alliance announced today an investment of $3.5 billion over the next two years in U.S. based technology companies that have significant potential for innovation and growth, including the clean technology sector and to increase hiring goals in 2010 resulting in 10,500 new jobs for recent college grads.

Why focus on new college grads? Today’s college graduates with the advanced degrees and technical skills in engineering and computer sciences may very well be the talent that will invent the world’s next technology breakthroughs. This effort ensures that many of them will not be sitting idle during this economic crisis, but instead will be helping the economy grow through the power of innovation. By emphasizing these hires in addition to the hiring Intel has planned for skilled, experienced people (check out Jobs at Intel for these opportunities.) we are hoping to do our part in creating long-term, sustainable jobs.

Some folks may raise an eyebrow, because many of the companies included in the Alliance have in fact over the last few years reduced their workforces. For Intel, it is true, that we made the difficult decision in recent years to close older factories and to reduce our workforce as appropriate as part of a plan to shift resources to newer technologies and more efficient manufacturing. These decisions are never easy, but if the goal is to remain competitive and grow the economy then we must continue to innovate and wisely invest. That is why we announced last year a $7 billion investment in manufacturing facilities in the U.S. while also announcing the closure of some existing older technology factories.

I am proud of my company for not only committing itself to action, but also for working with our industry to amplify the impact through joint action. Let’s hope that today’s announcement is just the beginning and others will follow suit creating an even bigger impact. And if you’re able, join us by investing in America and the future of our country.

One Response to The key to a stable economy – investment and innovation

  1. In our current economic system, creating well-paying good jobs is a great thing, so what Intel is doing in that sense is terrific. But, ultimately, automation, robotics, AI, better design, and voluntary social networks (all following exponential growth somewhat related to Moore’s Law) are changing the fundamental nature of our economy. While innovation may create some new jobs, if demand for more stuff and more services is limited in most healthy people (since the best things in life are free or cheap), then rising productivity through innovation will lead to wide spread job losses. Our society has several ways to approach this. Some are negative solutions, like increasing war, creating makework, and fostering endless wasteful bureaucracy or endless schooling jumping through endless certification hoops. More positive ways would be to have a basic income, a gift economy, improved local subsistence in strong local communities that are sustainable and resilient like through 3D printing and organic gardening, work that is made into play, more resource-based economic planning, and some other ideas. There is more on this topic in an article I helped organize on Wikipedia here on “Jobless Recovery”:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jobless_recovery
    A central paradox of modern times is that true innovations made possible by computer networking, like the emerging realization that, say, curing vitamin D deficiency (like from too much indoor computer use :-) could save hundreds of billions of dollars annually in US health care costs, but would lead to many job losses even as everyone feels better. The pressing question is no longer how to produce more as much as how do we share what is produced?
    By the way, on vitamin D deficiency and Intel, I’d recommend Intel encourage all its employees to follow these treatment guidelines by Dr. John Cannell, MD, to make sure they are getting enough vitamin D since many probably spend a lot of time indoors:
    http://www.vitamindcouncil.org/treatment.shtml
    This idea may literally save Intel billions of dollars in health care costs, lost work time, and lost productivity. Vitamin D deficiency is now being linked to cancer, heart disease, immune system dysfunctions, depression, schizophrenia, autism, influenza, obesity, diabetes and more, because vitamin D helps regulate thousands of genes. Computing technology is indirectly contributing to keeping people out of the sun, although there are other factors like well-meant but incomplete dermatological advice (incomplete because it did not recommend supplements to make up for lack of sunlight and vitamin D). Also, I’d recommend all Intel processors intended for consumer applications come labeled with health warnings that too much time spend at computers can lead to vitamin D deficiency, and appropriate supplements should be taken. Self-regulation may be better as a pro-active corporate responsibility step than waiting for OSHA or other groups to get involved, and also has other bottom line benefits as above.
    One last point: The biggest challenge of the 21st century is the irony of technologies of abundance in the hands of those thinking in terms of scarcity. Intel has changed the world — but has its corporate ideology kept up with the very changes that have resulted from so faithfully following Moore’s law?
    (By the way, the blog software here keeps nesting URLs in comments with more escaping code every time a preview is done. :-)