Advertisement - Click to support our sponsors.

Hawaii’s World

By A.A. Smyser

Thursday, March 9, 2000

Hawaii can grow again

COULD our Hawaii economists be wrong in seeing only slow growth ahead? I offer two testifiers for possible fantastic strides.

Health problems kept Peter Drucker, 94, considered the father of modern management, from coming here to highlight a recent Japan-America Institute of Management Science forum. But from the Claremont University graduate school that bears his name, he communicated some thoughts to Hawaii Business magazine. To wit:

Bullet It's foolish to think of Hawaii's small size as a disadvantage. Small economies are doing better than big ones. Luxembourg, with half Hawaii's population, has the world's highest per capita income. Other small European countries top the giants.

Bullet The Pacific region's star economies are in small areas -- Singapore, Taiwan and Hong Kong before China's takeover. Singapore's land area is smaller than Molokai.

Bullet Hawaii's cultural diversity, linked with the best communications in the entire Pacific Basin in all directions, should make it easy for us to become a preferred headquarters for financial service business and e-commerce.


Witness No. 2 is Duncan MacNaughton, a successful local developer of shopping malls who has wide business contacts. He quotes Jack Tsui of First Hawaiian Bank on the foolishness of people working where they don't want to work and living where they don't want to live.

As Henry Kaiser said 40 years ago, Hawaii has a great chance to become a base for footloose think industries that can locate where they like.

MacNaughton folded a piece of paper in two to indicate a doubling of growth. This is mild stuff in high tech these days. Double that in the future, then redouble it and Silicon Valley -- already bursting its boundaries -- will have to grow elsewhere. Why not Hawaii?

Two doubled 50 times exceeds 1,125 TRILLION! Yes, there still is room for Hawaii in the high-tech age, says MacNaughton.

Growing numbers of high-tech multimillionaires have bought second or third homes in Hawaii to which they retreat several times a year. What about inviting them to take a few hours off from their retreats to offer lectures to interested local groups?

BILL and Melinda Gates were married here. Their foundation supports Internet connections for Hawaii libraries in rural and poor areas. Would he be a summer lecturer at University of Hawaii? Would Steve Case of AOL, a Punahou graduate, consider joining a board or commission to help map Hawaii marketing strategy?

We have quite a base to build on. MacNaughton enumerated the University of Hawaii, Manoa Innovation Center, Hawaii High Tech Development Corp., Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii and Maui Research and Technology Park.

Digital Island, a company started in Hawaii by Ron Higgins, a fourth-generation kamaaina, has a market capitalization of $3.5 billion. It uses the convergence of long distance cables in Hawaii to provide links to 15 countries.

Big Island firms like Cyanotech and Aquasearch could soon employ hundreds of UH grads with degrees in ocean sciences.

Twenty years ago Gov. George Ariyoshi looked over the balcony at the state Capitol to tell me none of those downtown Honolulu high rises or most of the jobs in them were there when we got statehood.

Some future governor may lead a Hawaii with tens of thousands of people happily employed at jobs that didn't exist when the 21st century dawned.

A.A. Smyser is the contributing editor
and former editor of the the Star-Bulletin
His column runs Tuesday and Thursday.

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]
[Stylebook] [Feedback]

© 2000 Honolulu Star-Bulletin