• 10.07.09

Rubenstein’s Sobering Tour de Force

David Rubenstein, co-founder of The Carlisle Group, a global private-equity firm managing more than $84.5B of equity capital, delivered a non-stop monologue today at the World Business Forum in New York City. His delivery was chock-full of statistics to illustrate his dark and sobering forecasts in almost every sector. 

He said that his firm’s phenomenal growth would not continue at such a dramatic rate as it has previously because of the ravaged state of affairs in all financial areas. 


A few excerpts from Rubenstein’s delivery:

7.6 million people have lost their jobs in this recession.

The US government has $57 trillion in unfunded debt.

How much is $1 trillion? If you put $1 million in the bank on the day Jesus was born and then put $1 million in the bank every day after that for the next 2009 years, you still would not have $1 trlllion. You would have about $700 billion.

Emerging markets are much more important today as investment targets because of their rate of growth.

Inflation is coming.



Unemployment rates are rising to the point where 7 or 8 percent will become normal.

Benefits such as Medicare and Medicaid will undergo drastic cuts.

The US will be much less significant than we have been before.

Rubenstein went on rapid-fire. Here within the blogger community at the World Business Forum, few were able to keep up with him. He did not seem to pause for a breath.


Then something I thought strange happened. Toward the end of his presentation, he shifted into dispensing platitudes such as, “Think like a leader, be entrepreneurial, and give back to the community,” and “If you don’t love what you are doing now, do something else,” and “You make your own luck; think like a leader.” These, too, were delivered rapid-fire. It was as if he did not want us to be so discouraged by his previous delivery and was attempting to rectify the situation. 

The caliber of people presenting is indisputable. David Rubenstein’s acumen is staggering. It’s interesting to see how he took the stage and formatted his presentation: fact after fact, followed by bromides. I would turn to him in a New York minute for input on the economy and decisions on where to invest. I’ll look to some of the other speakers for inspiration.


Stay tuned today as I continue to cover the World Business Forum live from Radio City Music Hall. 
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– Seth Kahan,

Kahan is a Change Leadership specialist. He has consulted with CEOs and
executives in over 50 world-class organizations that include Shell,
World Bank, Peace Corps, Marriott, Prudential, American Society of
Association Executives, International Bridge Tunnel and Turnpike
Association, Project Management Institute, and NASA. He is the founder
of Seth Kahan’s CEO Leaders Forum, a community of CEOs working together
to innovate through the current economy. His next book, Getting Change Right: Guaranteeing Buy-In from Your Most Valuable Players, will be published in spring 2010 by Jossey-Bass. Visit his other blog, for more info on the book.  

About the author

I help leaders with change, innovation, and growth. My latest book is "Getting Innovation Right." My first book, "Getting Change Right," was a business bestseller.