I cover lots of non-tech/science stuff as part of my job, and one of the things I’ve done for a couple of years is to cover the Concord Chamber of Commerce’s annual Economic Forecast Luncheon in which an analyst from the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston talks about interest rates and shipping-to-order ratios for capital goods, and I put together a predictable “things are good but challenges remain” story.
Until this year. As I report in the Monitor, this year Jeff Fuhrer of the Boston Federal Reserve, who has spoken at the meeting before, spent most of his time talking about social issues – income inequality and racism – and how they pose a greater threat to our country than standard economist-type metrics. He said some things that you’d expect to hear from a gathering of activists rather than businessfolk, such as:
“We call ourselves the land of opportunity, and in many ways we are. But in reality, it’s not opportunity, it’s luck”
It was not what I was expecting, nor was I expecting the room of 100 or so people to nod, applaud, and generally seem to agree, or at least appreciate the discussion.
You can read my whole story here.
By the way, he asked the crowd to guess what the other big threat to our economy was. Some guessed debt, some guessed demographics – nope, he said. It’s climate change.