What is in this article?:
- MUFSO 2012: Jon Huntsman addresses economy
- The energy issue
The keynote speaker outlined issues that will shape the economic future for restaurants
Huntsman painted a generally optimistic economic picture in his MUFSO keynote address.
The energy issue
Huntsman also addressed the energy issue, focusing on the critical importance of natural gas found in shale deposits beneath the surface of the earth. “The U.S. has been given the greatest gift in 100 years and we don’t even realize it. It’s called shale gas,” he said. “We have it in great abundance.”
As a result of recently developed drilling techniques that can tap into natural gas deposits found in shale, “by 2030 we could be an energy self-sufficient nation,” he said.
He cited Europe as being another central issue that will help to shape the economic direction of the United States. He questioned the stability of the European Union, noting that it “put the cart before the horse. A monetary and fiscal union was created before there was a political union,” Huntsman said. “It’s like taking out a joint checking account before you get married and hope it all goes well. Does federalism even have a future in Europe? Europe could be on the doorstep of a prolonged economic problem. The disparities [among the nations] may be too great to pull off something.”
However, he pointed to the rise of China as being the most important story of the century. “The most significant issue is the rise of China and how the rest of the world responds to this phenomenon,” Huntsman said. “They are the second-largest economy in the world, and we must keep an eye on their economic transformation. It’s historic in nature. They are moving from an export platform to a consumption platform.”
But while Huntsman addressed a number of key global issues impacting the U.S. economy, he also took the time to encourage attendees to step up their involvement in politics and their communities. “We ought to be prepared to sacrifice to make our communities a better place to live,” he said. “Get revved up about your participation in politics. I hope you vote, but I also hope you take personal interest in the well being of your community and invest something in it In terms of time and effort.
“We’re at a turning point in American history — at a time when we need to be inspired and pull together, regardless of your point of origin or background,” he continued. “We’re at a time in history when the stakes are so high. I hope you walk out of this room with a heightened sense of the fragility of our system. It is based on participation by the people.”
Find more 2012 coverage online at Restaurant Hospitality's sister publications, Nation's Restaurant News and Food Management.