My Gentler Approach

I’m hard on our city’s leaders.

They say they want Economic Development, but they don’t really have any qualifications for it.

Some of them are very rich. Obviously they know a lot about personal enrichment. But there’s a difference between personal enrichment and economic development. I’m not buying that trickle down rationale. Trickle down is a convenient myth.

If we want broad-based economic development in El Paso, we have to enhance the productivity of every El Pasoan.

One way to enhance the average productivity of El Pasoans is to increase the availability of one of the other factors of production, like physical capital. I.e., machinery. Or technology.

The problem with that approach is that there are a lot of places for the captains of industry to put their physical capital, and splash parks and stadiums aren’t persuasive enough incentives to attract them to El Paso.

Another way to improve our productivity is by enhancing our intellectual capital. Intellectual capital doesn’t have to be that intellectual. Learning any skill increases a person’s stock of intellectual capital. Like airbrushing. Or diesel mechanics. Or Photoshop.

El Paso has limited resources. More limited than most other places. And spending money on Quality of Life projects diverts money that could be spent on expanding El Pasoans stock of intellectual capital.

Attracting out-of-town industry is a difficult proposition. Enhancing the productivity of the people that are already here is easier, and is a shorter and surer path to economic development. And a productive populace stands a greater chance of attracting those out-of-town industries our city leaders claim they want.

One comment

  1. Dear Gentle, isn’t all this (the attracting out-of-town industry) heavily overshadowed by our isolated town having the highest industrial tax rate in the nation? Being a dreamer is terrific, but at some point it is good to at least occasionally wake up, smell the roses, and perhaps do a little pruning,

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