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Economic developers need vision, new energy

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By Harold Morgan


Economic development” gets much conversation in the policy realm. Occasions range from chamber of commerce meetings to political campaigns and legislative hearings.
But what, really, is all that conversation about? The perspective here comes from years of hanging out with economic developers and listening to the economic policy conversations.
To do economic development is to meddle with an economy, be it a community, a county or region or even a state.
Those of us tilting against meddling on the grounds that freedom, choice and competition provide better results are correct, but perhaps irrelevant.
Conservatives meddle.
The example as I write comes from all but one of the potential Republican presidential candidates swearing fealty to the ethanol industry in Iowa. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz provided the exception.
When properly and narrowly defined, the idea of economic development is to add organizations to what is called the “basic” economy of the area. The organization can be private or public.
Only when there appears the possibility of a government organization adding itself to a community is the acceptability of a government organization admitted.


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