It is interesting that the permanent employees want to be optimistic and Roubini wants to tell the truth as he sees it. What could get us cranking? Some technology investment that gave a 40% or more return per year. And if returns could be 100% or more they could be financed out of cash flow. Where are the gains?
We over invested in real estate and under invested in new knowledge. The trouble is real estate always looks like a sure thing. How low can it go? Where as you can put money into research and have nothing to show for it. Blind alley. So research looks risky. Until you don't have enough of it.
For one thing we need more work on graphene transistors. The way we have to make them currently is way too expensive. We take a silicon carbide wafer (one of the most expensive semiconductor materials) and cook it until a graphene layer shows up on the wafer. Well it is early days yet with all this carbon stuff. Which is to say that we are five years behind where we ought to be.