On the New Greatest Generation

With the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 approaching people have been asking me to write about the impact of 9/11 on economic policy making in Washington, where I ran the international division of the U.S. Treasury at the time, and to reflect on how the world has changed since then. One request for 150 words came from the Stanford News Service. While there are many amazing economic stories to tell, I thought the first one should reflect on the new greaest generation which will help lead the way out of the difficult times we are still in.

Ten years after 9/11 we now have a “new greatest generation” of Americans on the scene and ready to lead. It includes, of course, all the post 9/11 Afghanistan and Iraq veterans to whom Time Magazine dedicates its cover this week. Fifty-one have enrolled at Stanford with more to come. As [Stanford President] John Hennessy and [Stanford Provost] John Etchemendy say, “We are honored and proud to have many excellent current students and alumni who have served in the military.

But I see a new greatest generation that also includes equally dedicated civil servants, like those at the US Treasury who froze terrorists’ assets after 9/11 or funded new schools in Afghanistan; young entrepreneurs, who through ingenuity and hard work have been developing new products to improve peoples’ lives; and the teachers, the doctors, the engineers who are just beginning their careers.

This is the best news and the most promising.

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