RI and Recessions

One of the complaints of the business and political class in RI is that RI enters recessions before most of the country and comes out more slowly.  This is then used as an excuse for more giveaways to business, mostly as subsidies, tax credits, and access to land and buildings.  The result of this is an economy very dependent upon new construction of very large buildings and infrastructure for growth.  And of course in a recession the first thing that drops out is money for new construction, and the government, following neo – liberal principles, has already cut taxes and services and refuses to fund more infrastructure that actually helps communities.  

The resolution is not necessarily more money for infrastructure as  green infrastructure sometimes takes less to build and can provide better long term sustainability.  The resolution requires us to think differently about the economy and our expectations of growth.  An economy that was focused on eliminating carbon emissions, clean air and water, public health, healthy local food for everyone, and building resilience will not grow rapidly, which is no big deal in a place with a barely growing population, but it will distribute the benefits of civilization much more widely, and be much less likely to slide into a recession based on the banks betting on real estate speculation.  

Greg Gerritt 2/5/20