Why Economic Development is Hard

May 15, 2011

A very good piece on this week’s “This American Life” radio program about job creation (in Collaboration with the excellent NPR “Planet Money” team). A number of key ideas in the episode resonated for me:

  1. How hard it really is for government to “create” a job, and to measure if you’ve really done it
  2. The challenges in trying to recruit employers, including the potential for this to be a zero-sum game between jurisdictions – or worse – a race to the bottom
  3. The trends (or fads!) in economic development, some of which we have definitely followed here in Portland
  4. The probable wisdom in instead working hard to grow from what you already have

It reinforced for me what I think is a fundamentally solid plank in the draft Portland Plan strategy on Economic Prosperity and Affordability, highlighting neighborhood economic development – doing the hard work to help Portland’s wealth of small businesses grow and prosper.

Follow the Portland Plan at http://pdxplan.com as the draft strategies mature and develop, and let us know what you think about the strategies.


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