Friday, November 14, 2008

Yes to economic summit

The November 12 Idaho Mountain Express editorial calls for an economic summit to strategize how to enable local economic survival. An excellent idea!

But I would encourage thinking that looks to the present in a way that will enable transition to a more sustainable future, i.e. how to build local economic diversity that involves at minimum high tech, finance, green production and services, food manufacturing, and sports clothing and equipment.

As Henry Ford said, "Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more successfully." Our economy has failed and we need to begin again more successfully. The focus for too many years has been tourism, tourism, and more tourism, with a large sidebar of second home construction. Forest fires, poor air access, gas prices, weather conditions, and a lot more leave us vulnerable to tourism downturns. Our backbone industries of real estate, construction, and retail have plunged and we have little else to fall back on.

Let's make plans to never end up this way again. An economic summit would do well to identify a course of increased business diversity. We must make a conscious choice to broaden our base of economic strength. Now, in the face of disruption, we must seize the opportunity to do this and build a more secure future for ourselves and our children.

Jima Rice


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