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Bernanke: Innovations will pump up the economy

| Saturday, May 18, 2013, 7:27 p.m.
Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke says fields including healt care and clean energy hold many opportunities for profitable innovations.

WASHINGTON — Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Saturday said technological change will remake fields like health care and belie predictions that innovation will fade and economic growth will wane.

Bernanke told a college graduating class that the long-range practical consequences of innovations such as faster computers and the Internet are hard to predict. But inventors have only scratched the surface of the commercial applications that can be obtained in such fields as medicine and clean energy, he told the graduating class at Bard College at Simon's Rock in Great Barrington, Mass. Bernanke's son Joel graduated from the school in 2006.

“We live on a planet that is becoming richer and more populous and in which not only the most advanced economies but also large emerging market nations like China and India increasingly see their futures as tied to technological innovation,” Bernanke said in a text of his remarks, which were released in Washington.

“The number of trained scientists and engineers is increasing rapidly, as are the resources for research being provided by universities, governments and the private sector,” he said. “Both humanity's capacity to innovate and the incentives to innovate are greater today than at any other time in history.”

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