Response to Pro jo series on the economy May 2014

Rhode Island will be unable to strengthen its middle class as long as it listens to the policy advocates for the 1%. As a close observer of the economic development process in Rhode Island and elsewhere, it is clear that those practicing economic development have an extraordinarily narrow view of development based on assumptions about planet Earth and Rhode Island that are no longer applicable.

Rhode Island is very unlikely to experience rapid economic growth. Our population is relatively stagnant, immigration and births roughly balancing deaths and emigration. Our infrastructure is old, we have not been a prime investment zone in 120 years. Climate change is going to make things quite interesting. Basing economic development plans on ever rising values of real estate creates the greater inequality that grinds down the economy even faster. The plan to give ever lower taxes to the rich does not work under these conditions. It lines the pockets of the wealthy as the rest of us get poorer.

Rhode Island is going to have to start its economic renaissance by accepting lower growth, sharing better, healing ecosystems, focusing on reducing our carbon footprint and increasing our food security. Free trade and a great business climate will not help communities in a low growth place. They increase inequality and speed up ecological damage.

Only an economy baed on ecological healing, economic justice, and economic democracy will bring prosperity to the communities most in need of it now.

2 thoughts on “Response to Pro jo series on the economy May 2014

  1. Business skeptics may wonder how ecologically minded economics can bring prosperity. In Boulder, CO, years back, environmentalists prevailed against mainstream business arguments – and the city thrives — and has a healthy economy — in part because it is an ecologically minded place. For RI, there are plans (and maps) in place recommending green open spaces, restoration of farmlands, sustainable transportation proposals, all of which are productive economic activities. These types of economic investments are not only necessary for mitigating climate change, but are in line with Adam Smith’s understanding of economy and avoids the “boondoggle” types of investments that plague RI (i.e., 38 Studios, pricey high-rises with unsold units, etc.)
    RI has a lot of great natural resources. Rather than building on land with established grasses, woods and wetlands, RI needs to make a commitment to: unpave the large swaths of vacant strip malls and empty parking lots; create walkable and affordable places for RI’ers to live and conduct small-scale economic activity; invest in a renewable energy grid — and avoid pumping dollars into high pressure gas lines underneath our streets… Get the new picture?.

  2. Greg Gerrett is right when he says “Rhode Island is very unlikely to experience rapid economic growth”, but this is not from not becoming a communal state of “economic renaissance by accepting lower growth, sharing better and healing ecosystems”, but because of the restrictive and corrupt RI government. When then mayor Cicilline turned Providence into a sanctuary city, he started a line of illegal aliens coming here for all the free services non-profit organizations were able to provide them with that exceed the entitlements that Florida and Arizona even provide. They have taken our jobs, they send most of all they make here back to their country of origin causing a huge vacuum of missing local productive cash that is not returning into our state’s economy and are causing the value of the work hour to continuously drop from where we should all be making.

    Greg is living his life in the glory of communistic ideals that simply don’t work. Our population is stagnant because of our taxes and how the state treats businesses. If all businesses move to better climates and right-to-work states, where will anyone find jobs? The state’s governmental unions have taken over and we have a bloated and inefficient workforce that has caused a huge burden on taxpayers. God forbid we eliminate a relative’s job that is a duplicated service.

    We should all be responsible to keep this world clean, but to think man can control weather is ludicrous. One volcano eruption puts more pollutants in the atmosphere than what man can do in 100 years. Plants and trees thrive and need CO2, this is a needed chemical bond to the earth, not a polluting element the propaganda of the World Order wants you to believe. Temperature change is called “weather”… it gets hot and it gets cold. Get over it.

    The most illogical and ignorant comment Greg makes is “Free trade and a great business climate will not help communities in a low growth place”. To think that improving the business climate to increase jobs availability and infusing cash into this economy will not help the average Rhode Islander get a better job to be able to pay our bills is complete foolishness. His take on “inequality” is hard workers with ambition make more money than lazy people who expect those to support those who are not. It’s called taking from the producers to give to the non-producers. Who cares what someone else makes? Worry about your own production and your own family. Stop taking the money I earn by working for it.

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