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It’s the people with ideas who create the jobs

By Harold Morgan

Here’s the recipe for growing an economy:
“The growth rate of real per capita output is the sum of the growth rate of real per capita labor input and productivity growth.
Productivity … is determined by the technology and regulatory structure of the economy and therefore is largely independent of spending policies.”
The good words come from two economists, Harold L. Cole of the University of Pennsylvania and Lee E. Ohanian of UCLA. Their essay appeared Sept. 26 in the Wall Street Journal.
Growing real per capita labor input means more people working more. Doing more stuff and doing existing tasks more efficiently grows productivity.
Companies are doing something about growing real per capita output.
The motivation is survival, not altruism, though the altruism of greater economic output appears as a side benefit.
Survival leads the motivators because without new and/or improved products, companies die.
“Safe round sand” results from using the Cemco Glass Gator.
Family-owned and operating internationally, Cemco, of Belen, has been in what it calls the “product reduction business” for decades.
Product reduction is making larger things smaller – rocks and bottles, for example. Much of Cemco’s business has to do with rocks. The Glass Gator does bottles.
The 520 pound, $8,700 device is for restaurants, nightclubs and bars.
Empty bottles go in. The sand comes out.
The material can range from an eighth inch to three-quarter inch in size.
One market response to the Gator has been a request for a lighter, less expensive version.
Ever attuned to the market, the new version will appear next spring with a price of around $5,000, says Cemco’s Jerry Jackson.
Though Altela Inc. is based in Albuquerque, the firm’s initial focus was an oil and gas problem: treating the produced water that appears from a well, along with the oil and gas. Produced water, when cleaned, might offer some interesting water-supply options.
Altela’s technology borrows rain making for its core approach.
Altela says the technology is simpler than others, uses easily available materials and less energy.
Co-founders Ned Godshall and Matthew Bruff are Sandia National Laboratories alumni.
Altela made the 2011 list of the nation’s top 50 innovative water-technology firms from The Artemis Project, a San Francisco consultancy. Miox Corp., another Albuquerque firm in the waste-water treatment business, also made the Artemis list.
The required $100 million or so — just for planning to final approvals — puts the SunZia Southwest Transmission Project on a scale vastly different from Cemco and Altela.
The SunZia idea is to build two extra-high-voltage transmission lines along a 500-mile path, starting north of Tucson, running along I-10 and then along I-25 to northeast of Albuquerque.
The object is to bring transmission capability to the attractive solar and wind energy sites along the route, thereby addressing a key obstacle to alternate energy development.
Dan Lopez, president of New Mexico Tech, is a SunZia fan.
Tom Wray, the SunZia project manager, says Tech has some geothermal resources, but needs to have transmission.
Wray spoke recently in Albuquerque to NAIOP, the commercial real estate developers group.   
Government can be useful, especially by simplifying rules.
Truckers now can operate overweight vehicles “within six miles of a port of entry facility on the border of Mexico,” says House Bill 24, which passed the 2011 legislative session.
The change means Mexican truckers can get to American warehouses without unloading at the border, a big savings in hassle, time and money.
People with ideas, through their companies, create jobs.
Governments, when being supportive, do government things such as infrastructure, making fewer, simpler and consistent rules, and applying consistent, simpler and preferably lower taxes.

Harold Morgan
© New Mexico
News Services 2011