Our First Economic Developer

December 14, 2015

There are seasons in every country when noise and impudence pass current for worth; and in popular commotions especially, the clamors of interested and factious men are often mistaken for patriotism.
-Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton, one of our country’s founding fathers and the founder of our economic system, should also be considered the nation’s first economic developer. Trained as a merchant in the Caribbean, Hamilton recognized the need for a national financial system. He understood that a sustainable tax base was necessary to fund the government, and that investment in infrastructure and talent was needed to fuel economic expansion in a fledgling country.

The principles Hamilton adhered to are still instructive 225 years later. His Report on Manufactures outlined an global economic strategy that is still relevant in today’s information- and technology-driven economy.

First, capital must be available to entrepreneurs and expanding enterprises. Second, we must create and attract talented people through education, training, and immigration (the know-how for manufacturing resided in Europe at that time). Finally, there should be economic incentives that encourage the purchase of new equipment and the hiring of talent to accelerate innovation. While economic incentives are often seen as a modern creation, our country adopted them from the beginning as a necessary and healthy part of the system.

As is often the case, we must look to the past for understanding and lessons learned in uncertain times. Hamilton’s enduring legacy can be drawn upon and also improved, but it must be considered by civic leaders that are examining how to stimulate their own economic development.

Kenny McDonald

One Columbus Update

  • One Columbus was honored as a first place winner for the Columbus Region website at the annual Competitiveness Conference & Site Selection Forum held by the Mid-America Economic Development Council. Thank you to our partners who contribute content to make the website the trusted source of information about the Columbus Region economy.
  • This week, the One Columbus team is hosting companies considering the Columbus Region.