“All have their worth and each contributes to the worth of the others.”
We all agree that the economic development of our states, counties and cities is important and necessary to the success of citizens in a given area. Public entities are reminded of this as they see their tax revenues fall or rise. Private entities are reminded of this as they see their opportunities grow or wither in a particular community.
Occasionally, however, we lose sight of the ways in which we depend on each sector to perform so that the whole can move forward. Business leaders might look past their local communities as they grow nationally and globally. Universities and college leadership might do the same. Financial institutions can become fixated on policies set far from their service territories, and ignore the developing market conditions in the local communities and companies in which they serve. Local governments and school districts can forget that ultimately they are very dependent on the competitiveness and sustainability of their private sector employers and investors in their regions.
Over the long-term, no business, government, or institution will be able to out-perform their local economy. Businesses – even the most successfully international – must retain and attract great people to execute their work, and cannot do so in a severely challenged area. Governments, although they may have sophisticated financial strategies and policies that protect them, still need a growing, vibrant private sector to feed the consistent demand for basic services and maintain the safety nets that serve our most vulnerable. Academic and healthcare institutions must succeed in their own backyard in order to achieve credibility nationally and internationally.
The bottom line is this: that economic development is in everyone’s interest, and that we are, perhaps more than we sometimes realize, dependent upon each sector of our communities to perform in order to grow, innovate, and prosper. Let’s take this maxim into the week and celebrate our interdependence. Let us challenge each other and lift one another up.