To the Editor,
The article “Economy grows despite weakness” in the February 18, 2015 Projo reported that the economic growth rate in Rhode Island was lower in the 4th quarter, 1.8% compared to 2.4% in the third quarter, and lower than was anticipated. Rhode Island’s economy is growing slower than the global average, the national average and the regional average. John Simmons comment ”trending lower… is a sign that the state economy has inherent weakness” seems to be in line with the sentiments of Rhode Island’ political leadership.
Simmons, and the rest of the business climate obsessives keep thinking they can pump up the growth rate by becoming “business friendly”, but any honest assessment of our growth potential will conclude that Rhode Island is going to be one of the places with a slower economic growth rate.
Instead of obsessing about a faster growth rate, the people of Rhode Island might be better served by a government that seeks a greater and more widespread prosperity in a low growth environment via ecological helping and economic justice.
Rapid growth will occur only in places that have the right conditions: New natural resource exploitation industries like fracking, rapidly expanding newly industrializing cities growing as rural people are driven off the land, or megacities with large financial sectors. Half the world will have growth that is below average. The sooner we learn to accept our low growth rate and create public policy that creates prosperity in our communities even under conditions of low growth, the better.
Greg Gerritt is the research director for ProsperityForRI.com