Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Can We Just Get Down to Basics? 

On Sunday, the Cincinnati Enquirer highlighted the work of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber in formulating an "agenda" for creating 200,000 jobs by 2020. The agenda can, for what it's worth, be seen at Agenda 360. I am usually skeptical of these kinds of efforts for two reasons.

First, in order to hit the lofty goals set forth, there is usually a dizzying array of programs and initiatives that are proposed. It seems to me that it is better to focus on a few agenda items and see them through rather than having a whole bunch of spinning plates going all at once. The second reason for my skepticism of these efforts is that these things have a top-down feel and world view. I'm getting tired of various and sundry top-down centrally planned ideas for economic growth. I am becoming more attracted to the idea of emergent orders in economics.

In May, Tom Blumer at Bizzy Blog, wrote an excellent post explaining why Ohioans have moved out of the state. I would recomend reading the whole thing, but the list in short form: 1. High taxes. 2. High crime rates. 3. Lousy schools. 4. A desire for a house with a yard (read suburban nieghborhoods). Working backwards from at least three of these points would point people in the right direction for economic growth and development without the Rube Goldberg-like collection of programs and initiatives.

The only addition to Mr. Blumer's points listed above is that traditional arrangements of the family need to be recognized and strengthened. That means households with both a man and a woman raising children together in the bonds of marriage. Concentrating on a few items and letting people develop and flourish on their own is an idea worth trying. What do you think?

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