Economic Development is a frustrating profession! Everything an economic developer reads these days offers the great magic strategy or solution to the revitalization of your community. No economic developer is likely to admit it, but they have tried most of these strategies and, while some work better than others, none really works as advertised. Why? Because there is a secret known only to a few economic developers. What is that secret? One size-fits all-magic bullet-strategies don’t work because each community is in its own way different. Why is each community different? Because of something called political and social culture. What is political and social culture? Read on and get introduced to the Mr. Mistoffelees of Economic Development.
In October 2011 the Curmudgeon wrote a review entitled “Business Climate in the New Normal”. This is both a MAJOR rewrite and a SIGNIFICANT update. Business Climate and the Second War Between the States (Or Do We Mean the Political Parties) Everyone in economic development has heard about state business climate and the ratings and rankings that are published by virtually every Think […]
The last installment of the Oscar-Forgotten Small Business Trilogy finally has arrived.In the third installment, the all too predictable Ghost of Christmas Future, delves into the horrible underlying, real-life story behind start ups and gazelles and how (if) a young and promising economic developer can hitch them up to his/her community revitalization. The issue endsoptimistically by offering a few suggestions on how a sub-state economic developer can actually use some of this Think Tank babble.
The first article in our Tolkien-like small business trilogy asks (asked) the question if , as claimed in the Economic Development truism, “small business is the nation’s best and greatest job creator” is actually true and literally correct. A related question that follows from the Truism is: “Are start ups the best, most dynamic job creators […]
This article, The Ghost of Christmas Past, is the first in our Small Business Holiday Trilogy. The Ghost of Christmas Past describes how and why the Small Business Truism came to be, and how Evil Forces successfully questioned its validity. Is small business our best new net job creator? Open up the first of three Christmas visitors to your email box and find out.
In subsequent issues over the Christmas and New Years holidays we shall send out The Ghosts of the Small Business Present and Future which carry the research on Small Business job creation to the present day and into the future.
Enrico Moretti’s, The New Geography of Jobs (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston, 2012). has been exceptionally well received by many of the economic development literari. Some commentators have described New Geography as the best economic development book of 2012. And if you don’t read New Geography, you would also miss reading the best, most readable explanation and defense of innovation, knowledge-based economics and their effects on the location of jobs in the United States. There is a lot going on in New Geography. You should read on because what lies below the thematic visible tip of New Geography and innovation economics is its frank and realistic understanding of what innovation economics can do and not do, and, perhaps more important, the linkage of innovation economics with American culture and society.
There’s nothing more controversial in the life of an economic developer than to provide a property tax abatement to a company. Yet, it is done more and more and is a central tool in just about all our economic development strategies. In his most recent review, Confessions of a Serial Tax Abater, the Curmudgeon provides some perspective, analysis, critique and guidance. He also vents and critiques a prominent review in the academic literature on tax abatement. Not to be missed, check out and read all the sordid details about property tax abatement in Confessions of a Serial Tax Abater.
Who are the Gods of Innovation and Knowledge-Based Economics? Who “Thunk” It Up? Where Did It Come From? Don’t Know? Then this review is The Perfect Take It to the Beach-Labor Day Reading — Innovation Economics–Everything you wanted to know (AND LOTS AND LOTS MORE) about the economics underlying innovation, creativity, entrepreneurship and the knowledge-based economy. Learn about Romer, Krugman, Lucas, Solow and Schumpter from our review of David Warsh’s, Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations.
WHO STOLE MY LILY WHITE RICH SUBURBS???
Hardly anyone talks about economic development and the suburbs. Why should they-they are all the same: rich, white pillagers of central cities and purveyors of sprawl. In a world composed of mega cities, SMSAs, and multi-county economic regions, does anyone care what is going on in the suburbs? Saint that he is, the Curmudgeon does! In this review, he discusses Bernadette Hanlon’s Once the American Dream: Inner-Ring Suburbs of the Metropolitan United States.
Innovation is too important a concept, too serious a strategy to be treated with the casualness, simplicity and inevitable benevolence that we read in current literature and blogs. Innovation has become so trivialized we have lost sight of its Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader two edge sword complexity. Instead we have an “everything is beautiful” and it’s “so easy we all can do it” atmosphere. It’s time we sobered up and remember that Innovation is a wonderful but dark, dirty, greedy, timeconsuming and very sloppy economic development strategy.