Friday, September 24, 2010

Hand Map To Innovation

Who knew that the answer to California's economic woes would be so obvious?

“Michigan,” the founder of San Francisco’s CMEA Capital repeated. “Now I’m not that close to it, but you see it more in programs and policies. They’re protecting small businesses, providing tax breaks — lots of breaks — and they’re providing worker training incentives.”

Also, Baruch noted, Michigan has a strong delegation in Congress that has helped funnel federal stimulus program cash in an effort to transform the world’s auto capital into a green-auto hub.

“(State government has) tends to be less antagonistic and more of what you might call ‘participatory’ in bringing together assets within the state, including the universities,” said Baruch, whose firm has bankrolled the likes of cleantech companies Codexis and Solyndra.

Like Pittsburgh, Michigan (i.e. Detroit) is more commonly understood as a punchline to a joke. California is failing to fail. Rust Belt cities are home to cutting edge policy innovation thanks to necessity. As bad as things are in California, they aren't bad enough. I'm sure the state can lumber along as Michigan did for decades, clinging to the golden years.

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