Archive for March, 2017

THE END OF COUNTRY

March 11, 2017

ENVIRONMENT/CULTURAL CHANGE VS. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTEnd of Country

Not many planners or economic developers have the opportunity to reshape the physical environment changing the pristine environment into high density economically prosperous uses.

These situations typically pit environmental and neighborhood character preservation vs. economic gain.

It’s never a “clear cut’ decision, no “black or white” solution is easily identified to solve an endless number of questions and personal issues of folks concerned.

There are numerous books written about these situations, typically explaining how the economic development initiative has altered, not only the landscape but also the lives of people that live there.

The End of Country is another descriptive exploration of the conflict between economic development and change; both environmental and social.

Author Seamus McGraw chronicles the process of leasing mineral rights from rural country property owners through the making of Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania, Marcellus Shale natural gas-well royalty recipient millionaires.

McGraw who grew up on the family farm tells the story of his elder mother and her neighbors process of being solicited to lease their mineral rights, the land clearing well drilling site preparations and the transformation of the “rural hill country landscape” of Pennsylvania into an industrialized natural gas collection landscape.

It’s a great read, one that will challenge planners and economic developers to think about the changes brought about by certain economic development actions.

It poses the question…. When is it morally and ethically correct to exploit the natural environment [possibly resulting in non-revertible outcomes] and change the physical and cultural landscape in pursuit of economic development community gain?

It’s a plaguing questions one this writer has explored in other blog posts about books titled: Bulldozed, At the Crossroads and Hollowing out the Middle.

The Scandal of Money

March 5, 2017

…an economic developers thinking about the roscandal-of-moneyle of Money.

Every economic developer is, or should be, concerned about money.       

It’s the measurement tool for which economic development success is based on…increasing household incomes by increasing job counts and wages paid.

The economic development profession does not give much thought to money as a tool of measurement but the reality is money determines value and serves as the central vehicle to judge, compare and communicate about local, national and world-wide economies.

Without money no one could intelligently discuss today’s local or global economic conditions or their historic trends.

For economic developers, money is a needed tool to determine value of their efforts to make local economies better.

Gilder gives an interesting perspective of money in its role of determining value in his book “The Scandal of Money”.

Gilder’s free-market thinking postures that while money serves as a “measurement stick of value” its human creativity…a process of learning, identification of opportunity and entrepreneurial expansion that in effect creates the profits that are measured by money that is important for economic sustainability and economic growth creating community betterment; ultimately measured in higher household incomes.

Gilder’s concern lies in the notion that today, the money measurement tool is manipulated more by government action than entrepreneurial profit realization.

He poffers that more profit diverted to government sponsored programs and incentives robs profits from entrepreneurial expansion that creates knowledge, information which is used to increase technological advancement leading to increased jobs and better wages.

For economic development practitioners Gilders thinking again brings into focus the role of government in manipulating profit in the form of taxes and incentives in an effort to pick job and wage increasing winners.

It’s a cranial intellectual policy read, one recommended for all economic developers and civic planners interested in government economic development policy.

I support the notion of creative destruction with technology replacement, information which is easily communicated and replicated in productive learning that accumulates knowledge which frees entrepreneurial spirits resulting in new profit opportunities for the future.

Gilder’s message is that a non-governmental manipulated money supply that increases in value as entrepreneurial opportunity is fulfilled results in new jobs and higher wages denoting economic success and a better future.scandal-of-money