majority of biotech research was moving to the United States because world-high prices for pharmaceuticals made it attractive to sell here and because of the importance of locating production close to the market.
“Look at the medium term.” Focusing on 7 years out, rather than on 2 years out or on 10-15 years out, would bring into view the huge labor-market upturn that would be hitting with the baby-boomers’ retirement. That would create job loss—“quote-unquote”—for voluntary rather than involuntary reasons, and the country would need skilled labor. While he recognized that those currently unemployed might find little solace in this prospect, he said that the kind of policy responses previously mentioned—encouraging education in America of engineers, loosening some restrictions on technological development—would be very important in 7, 8, or 9 years.
Concluding the panel, Dr. Myers said that a speech by Alan Greenspan then posted on the Federal Reserve Web site would probably be worth keeping in mind while seeking solutions. He paraphrased the Fed chairman as saying that the nation had learned over the previous 50 years that a flexible and adaptive economy was the most robust with respect to unexpected events leading to downturn. Dr. Myers interpreted this to mean that the solutions base had to be adaptive rather than fixed in such a way that the economy could not adjust to the changes that were bound to occur. He then thanked the speakers for their presentations on what he deemed a very provocative subject.