Great article - headlined ‘Old School Economics’- in the New York Times magazine today about the way the presidential candidates speak about the economy and jobs. Christopher Caldwell writes:
“Why do presidential candidates touting their concern for the economy pose with factory workers rather than with ballet troupes? After all, the U.S. now has more choreographers (16,340) than metal-casters (14,880), according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. More people make their livings shuffling and dealing cards in casinos (82,960) than running lathes (65,840), and there are almost three times as many security guards (1,004,130) as machinists (385,690). Whereas 30 percent of Americans worked in manufacturing in 1950, fewer than 15 percent do now. The economy as politicians present it is a folkloric thing.”
Is it – perhaps – the same with cities? Are we still looking at blacksmiths instead of blackberrys as economic drivers? Is our economic development world view really current with what’s happening now? And more importantly, are we accurately tuned to what’s happening next? In my experience, economic development tends to be reactionary – responding to what comes through the door and the tailoring marketing to more of that. Perhaps a more aggressive, nimble, entrepreneurial approach is needed. BioOrlando may be an example of that new approach – if it can deliver results as well as vision.