Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Growth is a Four-Letter Word

Growth is a four-letter word in Cleveland. Why? Because it demands R-I-S-K. If we treat our region as a business, we must decide if we're focused on growth or income when planning. The former demands investment with risk. The latter involves leveraging existing assets to produce steady, stable returns. Unfortunately, our region is looking to those who can afford to lose to take the risks that will lead us to growth. These leaders, however, are focused on maintaining income and not growth, yet we continue to put our fate in their collective hands. Wake up, Cleveland. Our chances for break-through leadership are far better with those who have nothing to lose than the few with plenty.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really don't follow your logic. You're using a financial planning metaphor to describe local economic development strategy? It's common knowledge around here that strategies have focused on income preservation (for example, the outlandish effort to preserve 600 government administrative jobs--which may yet fail--or any large capital works projects involving union labor) rather than growth, which involves human capital formation (basically, recruiting highly educated professionals/entrepreneurs to move here). But your next point loses me. This push for a new convention center/medical mart is actually an effort by the private sector to get the public sector to pony up. In this case, the city of Cleveland being relatively cash poor, is the one being asked to shoulder the risk--not the other way around. The city has a lot to lose. Forest City, on the other hand, despite its deep pockets is looking to prop up the fortunes of Tower City while incurring little risk whatsoever.

I think you need to cite an example of what you're postulating.

9:06 AM  
Blogger Tim Ferris said...

It's good you're getting into the no-risk stance of the money around here, though. When people begin to work on the plans for a Cleveland project, they begin as well to use the region's neediness against it to extort tax preferences, cheap money, cheap land, preferential treatment, and mitigation of risk so they can carry as little of the burden as possible and maximize their return. "People" here include Forest City, Wolstein, Jacobs, and most others over the past 20 years. The push on the medical mart is yet another extortion of a region that thinks it's poor and needy because it's poorly run and poorly served by its career politicians.

8:24 PM  

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