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Home arrow Articles by Topic arrow Economic benefits arrow Exerpts from the "Corpus Callosum" column
Exerpts from the "Corpus Callosum" column PDF Print E-mail
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Articles - Economic benefits
Written by Jonathan Schechter, Jackson Hole News&Guide   
Saturday, 15 November 2008

"...one consequence of the world becoming increasingly inter-connected will be to reverse a fundamental principle of economic development, namely that people move to places where jobs are located. Going forward, I believe the opposite will become increasingly true: jobs will emerge where people choose to live. As a result, in the future, the truly successful communities will be those which invest not in attracting businesses, but in making themselves the nicest possible place to be."


"Changes in technology, transportation, and a host of other factors are combining to sever the umbilical cord linking where one works and where one lives. As that happens, rather than moving to a place for a job, people are become increasingly able to take their job to a place. That, in a nutshell, is the economic development model of the future, but one few places recognize, much less embrace.

For the last decade or two, without doing anything except keeping our extraordinary environment extraordinary, we’ve managed to create an economy so vibrant that we can’t even house all our workers.

It’s the model driving changes in the Tetons, though. For the last decade or two, without doing anything except keeping our extraordinary environment extraordinary, we’ve managed to create an economy so vibrant that we can’t even house all our workers. The same is true for other “nice” places to live, not just in the northern Rockies or even America, but around the world.

Two final thoughts. First, what both 1491 and my Middle East trip have driven home to me is just how unusual the greater Yellowstone region is. To an extent perhaps unequaled in the world’s temperate zones, our environment and landscape are little changed from what they were thousands of years ago. As a result, if there is anything close to a truly “natural” landscape and environment in this world, it is ours.

...we humans have proven ourselves eminently capable of screwing up nice places to live.

This leads into the second point. Because our future economic health is so closely tied to our quality of life, we find ourselves in a good news/bad news situation. The bad news is that, as a species, we humans have proven ourselves eminently capable of screwing up nice places to live. In a more benign sense, we humans also have a 5000 year track record of markedly altering environments. As a result, it seems likely that, in the future, we in the Tetons region will, at a minimum, significantly alter our landscape and environment; in the worst case, we’ll also take a series of small steps that, combined, will end up significantly harming our quality of life.

However, the good news is that much of that future is directly under our control. In particular, we have the chance to sustain something that, in the context of the world, is truly remarkable. The better we understand and recognize this, the better our chances of making decisions history will judge favorably."

Full story...


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Last Updated ( Saturday, 15 November 2008 )
 
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