June 3, 2012

Economic development requires creativity

About a year or so ago, I wrote a column about the seven attributes of a community with a competitive advantage. One of those attributes is a strong and diversified economy. Recently, I had occasion to think more about what economic development means.

I’ve always preferred Moseley’s definition. He defines economic development as “a sustained and sustainable process of economic, social, cultural and environmental change designed to enhance the long-term well-being of the whole community.”

Nationally, many rural communities viewed economic development narrowly and marketed abundant land and inexpensive labor as the catalyst to jump-start their economies. It wasn’t a bad strategy until many rural areas found they couldn’t compete with other parts of the world offering lower-cost labor. It took a while, but many rural areas finally learned that the “old ways” of economic development no longer worked.

Fortunately, that hasn’t been the case locally. Our economic-development strategies have worked. They’ve helped to create new jobs, raise income levels, diversify the economy, sustain local businesses and help them grow, and create new businesses.

Have they been successful 100 percent of the time? No, but many areas of the country would happily trade their success rate for ours.

The challenge now is to sustain that success.

I believe that to sustain a strong and diversified economy in the 21st century, a region needs to focus on doing three things well. They need to focus on innovation, capital investment and preservation.

Innovation is the hallmark of today’s knowledge-based, global economy. I think Eva Klein, a global knowledge economy expert, articulated it best. She said, “Since the dawn of civilization, there have been three waves of economic drivers or wealth creation. For the first 10,000 years of civilization, most jobs and wealth creation was tied to the Agrarian Age and related agricultural outputs. Over the last 200 years, the Industrial Age was the dominant economic driver. Today, we are in the Creative Age where knowledge, innovation, information and creativity drive today’s wealth creation and job growth.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg World in palm of our hands

    A newsroom workshop made writer Susan Tobias realize how far technology has come since she started working at the Press-Republican.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Mulholland_Jonathan.jpg Running tips to get you in top form

    Different limb lengths, tighter muscles, stiffer joints, prior injuries all play role in determining your running style, Jonathan Mulholland writes.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • clute_cropped.jpg When children are put at risk

    Adults who deal drugs, commit domestic violence and other crimes with kids present are guilty of yet another crime, writes columnist Penny Clute.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • Walace_Jolene 7-12_cropped.jpg Let these tips on planting trees take root

    You may think that digging a hole and plopping the tree in will suffice, and it will if you only want the tree to live a short time, columnist Jolene Wallace writes.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • ouellette.jpg Web doctor always gets it right

    I have access to the collected medical knowledge of all recorded history at my fingertips, columnist Steve Ouellette writes.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Airport projects can benefit local economy

    Using a local workforce keeps wages and spending in the community if it can be done in a cost-effective manner, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Gast_Richard.jpg Producers can recycle tubing

    Project allows maple-syrup makers to conveniently dispose of their used tubing in an environmentally friendly way, according to columnist Richard Gast.

    April 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • amy_ivy.jpg Is it time to plant? Not yet

    All we can do is wait and see how things get through, columnist Amy Ivy writes.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension

Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns

Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time