In spite of the economic downturn we continue to be a consumer driven economy. Most of the Washington pundits and pols can think of nothing other than doing what it takes to get consumers to start buying again. What if we stop being a consumer driven economy? What would we become then? What sorts of jobs would have to be created in order to maintain economic well being, and what would economic well being be? Frankly I have no idea, but I do know this; we cannot imagine, plan for and then create that new economy. We can’t because we are unable to imagine the unknown and unexpected. What we can do is imagine, plan for and create the conditions under which desirable and productive unknown and unexpected developments can take place. The incoming administration and some in Congress seem to be thinking in that direction in the sense that they know we need an efficient national infrastructure, a highly educated population, proficiency in technical skills at every level, comprehensive health care for all, and a fair and equitable tax system. What will that produce? Who knows? But it will create the conditions under which worthy things are likely to occur. The problem is that simplicity gets distorted by greed. The need for an efficient infrastructure becomes funding for pet projects of no real value. Education and skills training become regulations and sanctions. Health care becomes fodder for insurance company profits. Multiple attempts at tax reform speak for themselves. Our nation faces a huge test, and our track record is spotty at best. It’s going to be one heck of a ride.