Bear Economists See Manufacturing Bright Spot

S. Jay Levy and David A. Levy, respectively the chairman/vice chairman and director of forecasting at Jerome Levy Economics Institute at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., tend to sound U.S. doom and gloom while other economists emphasize the positives. As 2000 begins, the Levys are true to form. The domestic economy is burdened by high levels of private debt, industrial overcapacity, "record asset valuations based on unrealistic expectations and misrepresented earnings," and unsustainable consumer demand. In short, "the new golden age has not yet begun." Significantly, however, they foresee a resurgence of manufacturing during the next generation. Society's appetite for manufactured goods is not physically limited -- as the appetite for food is, note the Levys. "Moreover, technology makes it increasingly possible for manufactured goods to produce services -- just as motorized wheelchairs reduced the need for care givers, robotic appliances may replace domestic help."

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