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Steve Forbes Taps Nanotechnology, Software Advances As Ways Out Of Economic Doldrums

By David D. Menzies
May 15, 2009

(Cary, N.C.) Steve Forbes, president and CEO of Forbes, Inc. pointed toward advances in software and nanotechnology as examples of innovations which could help kick-start the domestic economy. Forbes made the comments this morning in front of 300 attendees of the NC CEO Forum 2009 held at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary during a keynote address centered on the causes and cures of the current economic crisis.

SAS co-founder Jim Goodnight introduced Forbes, whose speech kicked-off a day-long series of panels at the CEO Forum dealing with topics such as how companies adapt to rapidly changing business climates; what new opportunities have been enabled by market dynamics; which aggressive strategies have developed to enhance competitive advantage during economic downturn; and what changes have come about in how companies have aligned business practices, employee development, and budgets during stressful economic times.

“The strengths of the American and world economies are still there,” Forbes said, pointing to software advances and nanotechnology – which has been hyped for years and is finally finding its way into practical applications, he said – as innovative technologies which could contribute to economic growth.

“We have the right kind of environment for those who takes risks,” he added.

Healthcare was another area of focus Forbes mentioned for consideration of both innovative investment and careful handling by government. Clearly not a fan of nationalizing healthcare in the U.S., he gave an example of Western European healthcare systems as a less than desirable model that the current U.S. administration is looking to mirror with its own initiatives, such as its coming proposal for a national insurance company. According to Forbes, such a national entity would be a stepping stone for the U.S. government to take over the insurance industry due to the government’s ability to offer non-competitive low rates. He likened that approach to one in Massachusetts, which is suffering from soaring costs due to state-imposed insurance mandates.

“You see a fraction of innovation in Western European nations,” Forbes said, adding that private-sector investments in top-quality healthcare facilities in countries like India are leading to “medical tourism” where patients from the U.S. are travelling abroad for surgeries at 1/3 of what they would cost here.

“Economics is not the allocation of scarce resources; it’s turning the scarce resources of today into tomorrow’s abundance,” Forbes said.

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