NEW YORK ( TheStreet) --The U.S. needs a "grandiosity rebound," according to The New York Times' David Brooks, in an essay published Friday that describes the truly astonishing accomplishments of Elon Musk.
Musk, just 41 years old, has already created several groundbreaking companies in a wide range of industries. These include PayPal, which he sold to eBay (EBAY), Tesla Motors (TSLA), which has revived the notion of electric cars as a serious solution to our energy and climate problems, and Space X, which aims to revive space exploration and is already making a profit--to name just three.
Brooks argues that we have become a nation of detractors and ironists, more interested in tearing down people like Musk than in celebrating their accomplishment. This has to change, Brooks argues, if the U.S. economy is going to rebound and help the country return to its former greatness.
"Prosperity," according to Brooks, "is often driven by small enclaves of extraordinary individuals that build new industries and amass large fortunes. These driven, manic individuals are frequently unpleasant to be around. But, if your country is not attracting and nurturing them, you're cooked."Musk is a great example to prove Brooks' point. The only problem is that this same argument is put forth by Wall Street, but Wall Street is not nearly so good at creating things the world needs as Elon Musk is. Instead, Wall Street creates toxic securities to inflate a housing bubble, and then bets against those same securities so it can profit by blowing them up. Goldman Sachs (GS) and Deutsche Bank (DB)were among the first banks to catch on to this strategy, but soon other firms on Wall Street were trying to ape it. Wall Street finds clever ways to buy companies for relatively little money, saddle them up with debt, and waste their resources to extract "management fees" for doing this. The first people to figure out how to do these things were undoubtedly brilliant, but they were also part of the cynical upside down world Brooks argues we need to leave behind in order to get back on our feet.
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