Should Michigan Think Green?

After reading Thomas Friedman’s book, Hot, Flat and Crowded. I have become convinced that the next world economic boom will be driven by Energy Technology.

Energy is a 6 billion dollar a year industry according to Friedman, which is 6 times larger than the IT boom that has driven our economy for the past 2 decades if not longer.

What is obvious to me as well as many others is the fact that the last decade has been basically lost. My favorite economist (yeah I got one) Paul Krugman, likes to call the last decade, “The Big Zero”


He says there was basically Zero job creation, Zero economic gains for the typical family in terms of pay, and home ownership, where almost 25% of all home mortgages are under water, and Zero gains for stocks and retirement accounts.

I would say, it is safe to say that all of those factors are worse in Michigan. In Friedman’s book his hypothesis is, America can lead into an Energy Technology Era, an Era that can bring back Innovation and Manufacturing to our Economy, while making us safer at home and abroad, because of our lessened dependence on foreign oil, the very oil that funds and stabilizes Middle East Dictators. All while providing protection to our planet, which is threatened by increasing temperatures.

Friedman’s Energy Doctrine puts the United States in a leadership position to not only lead the World with innovation, but capitalistic innovation. He believes we need to spur our great market society, in a sort of space race with China with the Moon landing being an Energy Self-Sufficient Country.

If Friedman’s vision comes to life, and I believe it will in one form or another. With either China or the United States leading toward a more self-sufficient energy world. Who will lead at home? California has been a leader in renewable energy focus, although they may have the population who want to lead a “Green Revolution” they don’t have the financial stability or the manufacturing workforce as other parts of the country.

Enter Michigan, as reported by the L.A. Times yesterday.

The report by the Center for Climate Strategies said a plan devised last year for battling global warming in Michigan would help limit the state’s heat-trapping gas emissions over the next 15 years.

But more than the environment would benefit, the nonprofit group said. It projected gains of 129,000 jobs, a $25 billion uptick in the gross state product and lower prices for home energy sources such as electricity, oil and natural gas.

Back in 2007 Gov. Jennifer Granholm put together a Michigan Climate Action Council, it was that council that recommended an independent outside analysis of the affects a Green initiative could have on Michigan’s Economy. Before you think this is another state sponsored study, think again. The $75,000 grant for the study was funded by the Troy-based Kresge Foundation. Which is a dedicated to six fields of interest Health, Environment, Education, Community Development, Arts and Culture, and Human Services.

Personally I cannot see a better marriage for Detroit then Green Technology Manufacturing. The State has a huge pool of qualified workers, starved for employment, along with thousands of square feet of real estate, which has become vacant because of the “Great Recession”

Michigan and its population could use a bit of good news right about now. Maybe a Green New Year’s Resolution can bring 129,000 new jobs to the State I love so much. But don’t think for a minute the Big Oil, Gas, and Coal lobbies will let this change happen without a fight.

William Armstrong
William Armstrong is a lifelong Michigan Fan now living in Tennessee, where he is starved for information regarding his Michigan Wolverines and the Big Ten in general. That is the reason he writes about University of Michigan Sport. Contact him at his blog