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Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 6 posts ] 
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 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 4:55 pm 
Economic Development is a common term, but what does it mean? It's used so much that everybody should be able to give a quick definition at the drop of a hat, but ... can you describe what it means in a useful context?

What steps can a community like ours take to spur economic development? Is a coherent program of economic development in operation?

As a practical matter, these questions cannot be answered in any consistent way in Grant County.

Recognizing this startling fact, made obvious during the "Quality of Life" gross receipts tax proposal skirmish, a number of folks have been working to create a practical roadmap that defines what appropriate economic development for a small rural community should look like, and describes a process to effectively do economic development.

The attached document is a first draft of an approach for the citizens of Grant County to consider adopting.

Here's one short answer to the question, "What is economic development?"
Economic development is improving the economic plumbing system.
Make the incoming money pipes bigger.
Make the outgoing money pipes smaller.
Optimize money recirculation inside the system.

Economic Development Shifting Perspectives 12-28-2013.docx [34.17 KiB]
Downloaded 241 times

Last edited by gorwest on Sat Jan 11, 2014 8:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
 Author: Ski
PostPosted: Fri Jan 10, 2014 7:14 pm 
Not having a formal education, this discussion is really out of my pay grade, Gordon, but the following description from Diffen.com resonates with me—especially the last sentence:

"Economic development is a normative concept i.e. it applies in the context of people’s sense of morality (right and wrong, good and bad). The definition of economic development given by Michael Todaro is an increase in living standards, improvement in self-esteem needs and freedom from oppression as well as a greater choice. The most accurate method of measuring development is the Human Development Index (http://goo.gl/pShLcM) which takes into account the literacy rates & life expectancy which affect productivity and could lead to Economic Growth. It also leads to the creation of more opportunities in the sectors of education, healthcare, employment and the conservation of the environment. It implies an increase in the per capita income of every citizen."
Source: http://www.diffen.com/difference/Econom ... mic_Growth

Nothing will be well until we learn to live in harmony with the power of the world as it lives and moves and does its work. -~Black Elk, Oglala Lakota Medicine Man, 1863–1950.

 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 9:13 am 

The process we are advocating would definitely accommodate Todaro's thinking, as the review of proposed economic development actions to be taken by the community would evaluate their triple-bottom-line potential; TBL = People - Planet - Profit.

Indeed, economic development strategies need to take into account far more than the profitability of individual businesses (a business can be highly profitable, yet bad for economic development - it depends on the plumbing). As we are learning with the national/global economy, excessive income disparity is bad for the economy; poverty is bad for the economy; unhappiness and a sense of unfulfillment is bad for the economy; lack of dignity is bad for the economy - just as much as bad investments are bad for the economy.

What we need is a group of entrepreneurial thinkers and actors, coming from all walks of life and not just big business, to come together to develop strategies for TBL economic development.

 Author: SCNeighbors Alliance
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 1:04 pm 
Based on the comments here, incl the att doc, feel free to count me in, or not. I'm convinced that to sustain a vibrant community, strategists' outcome documents must become living documents. And teams must themselves inure through time by insurance cross-gender, cross-culture, age mix parameters, and specific revitalization sub-strategies to keep members going.

The reality is that we "oldsters" have great ideas, identify great realizations, design great projects, some are accomplished, but then, we "move on," (whatever than means to the leaders). Goals shift. Priority projects may have "satisfied" us. But the reality is that people wear out - and that talk is easier than weeks of hard work.

Regardless, to cease "the beating of bushes" is to stagnate. We've seen that happen time and time again with "economic development" strategies here and elsewhere. We humans simply need a "different way of doing business" on everything, if we're going to thrive, and survive.


Silver City Neighborhood Alliance
"Doing is the great thing, for if people resolutely do what is right, they come in time to like doing it." John Ruskin

 Author: gorwest
PostPosted: Sat Jan 11, 2014 4:51 pm 
Those are really good points.

One of the questions that needs to be answered is how to "choose" the entrepreneurial thinkers to participate in developing the strategies. There is a bit of a process problem in that any economic development strategy eventually needs to be given some status of authority in order to function in the systems of government, but it has been my experience that those who work in government are not necessarily the best folks for thinking entrepreneurially.

Rather than having some electeds be solely responsible for choosing (being elected to a public office does not carry with it any guarantee of the person being an entrepreneurial thinker), I believe we need a process that is mainly self-selecting, and it should relate to problem solving ability. My short definition of an entrepreneur is this, "An entrepreneur sees problems as the seeds for growing opportunities". I should note that this process would not exclude electeds from being on the team, though the fact of being in government would not carry any advantage.

I propose that to be active in the group of entrepreneurial thinkers, an aspirant needs to be able to identify a problem in the community along with a credible idea for turning that problem into an opportunity. Those ideas will then form the "portfolio" of ideas that will be evaluated for becoming priority projects.

As Kathy pointed out, there need be no end to the bringing of ideas to the group, it is a process that can go on as long as there are people with ideas and the energy to work to implement them. The difference from the status quo is that every idea will get a chance (or more than one chance) and, if selected through a deliberate and thorough analysis, it will get the support it needs from the community to be transformed from a liability into an asset.

What we need from the folks in government to do is agree to adopt this process and use the results in setting economic development budget priorities.

 Author: ynotwrite2
PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2014 10:11 am 
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