Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Understand the economic elephant


    Blind people confronted with an elephant have too little information to comprehend the whole of the creature. One person says the creature is a pillar. Another says it’s like a snake. Yet another says it’s like a wall. And, yes, they argue about it.
    The local economy is like the elephant in this old fable from India. Without enough information, it’s impossible to see, let alone understand, the local economy. And, yes, people argue about it.
    The special first-ever Economic Almanac section published in today’s newspaper is Step 1 in providing residents and local leaders enough information to see what’s happened in the local economy and to inform their decisions going forward.
    Readers should spend some serious time with the almanac. They will learn what’s happened in Blaine County since the Great Recession began in 2008. They will see the forces that continue to affect local businesses, jobs, homes, incomes and families. They also will learn how events and key pieces of infrastructure—everything from bike trails to the airport—support our livelihoods and enhance our lives.
    Sustain Blaine Executive Director Harry Griffith compiled the almanac data and the newspaper’s staff produced the stories and pages. Also, the section is available online at mtexpress.com.
    Step 2 for readers should be to attend Sustain Blaine’s Economic Summit. It’s set for Tuesday, Oct. 8, all day at Sun Valley Resort. (Sign up at sustainblaine.com.) There, experts from both inside and outside the area will discuss how the economic paths we choose could affect our future quality of life.
    Now that everyone can see what the economic elephant looks like, those paths may be easier to find.




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