In the early 90's recession I'll bet everyone on MemeStreams could have predicted a telecom boom. Three and more years ago MemeStreams was predicting a housing crash. If there was an opportunity for growth, you'd think someone here would be tuned into it. I'm not. With gas prices back to normal I don't see the boom in green technologies and urbanization that many people imagine. Political will doesn't create economic opportunity. It comes from pent up demand. The only thing I think we have pent up demand for right now is retirement savings.
I don't completely disagree with the sentiment, but I do not think it is wise to dismiss the whole green technology thing. The driving force behind IT since the end of the dot-com fallout has been efficiency gains. These days, the tech stocks I hold have lost the least amount of value in comparison to what were considered quite reliable blue-chips. FPGA's, tech services, software, and "heavy iron" are beating aluminum and steel these days. Gas prices might be down, but I'm still thrilled I own a Prius because it's making my bottom line much better than it would be if I still had the SUV. No one who bought a hybrid during $4.00+ gas regrets it now.
The same efficiency seeking effect is what's going to drive the whole green technology space. Better technology for running and managing demand of the power grid will be leading the way. In the end it will probably wind up creating a google sized number of millionaires, it's just not going to be a big boom kind of thing. It will be slow steady growth and adoption.
Furthermore, it will be technology and products we will make money off selling overseas. Unlike the housing boom, it will not be a solely domestic effect that only gets reflected in the financial companies.
If the new products and technology we create don't follow the standard boom-bust cycle it would be a good thing. It isn't that far fetched of an idea that the technology leaders would be the first to figure out that the big-bang theory of new market opportunities isn't as desirable a model as steady and reliable growth, even if it's slower. Slow is the new growth model.
Or another way to look at it: We really don't have a choice. When it comes to energy, we've got to squeeze the stone. Anyone who isn't hip to the fact yet, will be within a decade or so. If you think the housing and tech bubbles were tough suds, just wait until the century long energy bubble starts to bust. Can this be maintained?
RE: Where will growth come from?