Shiller Sees Signs of Hope

Yale Economist Robert Shiller says a number of factors are keeping unemployment high, which, in turn, is keeping the economic recovery tepid. But, he seems optimistic about the U.S.’s longer-term prospects.

“The question is: What have we lost?” Shiller asks in an interview with IndexUniverse. “We’ve lost some kind of mass-production industrial capability. But I’m not sure that’s not strong for the country in the future. The U.S. has a remarkable tradition of entrepreneurship and creativity. It’s still originating all these social networking websites. It’s the kind of thing that we do, that represents American culture.”

Shiller discusses the U.S.’s employment troubles. “Outsourcing of jobs is part of the problem. Information technology, too, is replacing jobs,” he says. “Apple has very few employees compared to GM. These are all broad long-term factors.”

Shiller has talked and written a lot about the importance of “animal spirits” in the markets. And, while clouds continue to hang over the investing world, he doesn’t seem to think that investing is dead. “There’s a lot of hostility toward finance, and Occupy Wall Street exemplifies this,” he says. “But I don’t think that it’s really taking hold. People still realize that finance is necessary.”