Questions and Answers on
Economic Development Issues

Last Updated: November 4, 2022

Economic development issues in Mozambique could be quite different from what perplexes community leaders in Los Angeles.

But moving ahead fearlessly, your editors want to know what you would like to ask about successful job creation in industries that add to the economic base of your community.  (Here "industries" is professional talk and could refer to any general classification of employment.)

Near the bottom of this page, you can write us your question or comment about economic development issues facing you. Also you can see links to what others have contributed. We then publish our responses, based on years of experience in working with communities across a broad spectrum of public policy issues.

As you will know when you read the Economic Development section of this website, we understand economic development to be the creation of jobs and wealth in a community by means of producing goods or services that are "exported" to a different economy, whether or not the "importer" is in another nation or only a couple of counties away.

It is the responsibility of community leaders and activists to work toward a more prosperous local economy.

While temporary but wrenching economic upheavals seem to occur periodically in Asia, Europe, and the U.S., other "less developed" parts of the world suffer continuously from the ups and downs brought on by drought, disease, war, poverty, and ethnic or religious rivalries.

Calvert Texas attractive building at dawnThe key to resolving economic development issues is often working with your existing assets instead of leaping into something brand new. Here is beautiful Calvert, Texas, at dawn. We don't know if this community can appreciate the potential of this and other buildings with personality.

By attempting to serve all sizes of communities and to allow the international community to make gentle corrections to our admittedly very U.S.-centered experience, we hope that all peoples can learn from one another and appreciate their own good fortune and culture.

As we try to bring out through this site, the goal of economic development is not confined to a consumer-led economy.  We think any discussion of economic development issues should consider also the links between a satisfactory standard of living for all social classes, equitable treatment of and opportunity for minorities,  and the ability of all peoples to contribute meaningfully to a society.

Many of the good things available to human beings, such as discovery, the arts, and idea sharing, only happen when education is universal and when disease and prejudice are held in check.  Some degree of well-being in health and education is a prerequisite to very much accomplishment in economic development.  From the standpoint of the greater social good, it is critical to spread wealth widely among the population instead of concentrating it in the hands of a few.

What to Do When Your Economic Development Issues Arise from Global Competition and Technology Advances 

Even when education and health levels are high, a local economy can face challenges due to automation, obsolescence due to technology advances, extreme weather events, and setbacks to industries or large employers or institutions that the city was dependent upon.  In fact, globalization of trade has only aggravated the potential for big swings in the economic fortunes of any community that has become dependent on goods and services produced elsewhere.

In economics class, I encountered convincing demonstrations that trade only occurs when it is mutually advantageous to both parties. In strictly economic terms, I still believe that. However, the social problems that occur as a result of employment shifts due to international trade, or even competition within one country, can devastate individual communities. The evidence is all around us in many parts of the U.S., the United Kingdom, and other nations formerly dependent on manufacturing.

Could these communities have foreseen that their plant that made toasters and stand mixers eventually would shut down? Perhaps so, but that degree of scenario planning is rare even when local communities are preparing master plans that supposedly look at what will happen in the next 20 years. So even with the best quality of local planning, we see that economic development issues can arise at any point.

When these economic displacements--resulting from trade, robots, automation, pandemics, storm, or war--persist for a long time, rebuilding your community to the point that basic human needs are met and prosperity returns becomes a major challenge.

We cannot emphasize enough that the short answer to how to engage in this rebuilding process is that you will need a speedy response. Inertia and denial are the enemies of being able to rise above community-wide economic circumstances beyond your control. You will have to scramble to find new industries where you can prosper. 

We encourage you to complete the form below to ask your question.  You can remain anonymous if you wish.  We select and answer all the questions we can understand and offer some helpful perspectives about.  Other site visitors are welcome to comment and help answer questions as well.  These are edited for clarity and our standards for use of the language, and then the question and its answer are published as a separate page, which will be reached from a link below.

Don't worry about whether you're in the correct category of the community development question section of the website.  We can fix it if we think another category will work better for you than this one.

Would You Like to Ask A Question?

Do you have a question for other visitors and the editors? This is a good place to bring up burning issues about how your community can create income from the outside world. Then you watch for the answers to appear on the web. Give us enough detail so the answer is helpful.

Other Questions and Answers

Click below to see questions from other visitors, and answers they receive.

Should a business district manager help an individual business 
Visitor Question: I own a restaurant in a popular neighborhood of our city. We have an organized business district that collects a small tax, and the …

Is downtown ideal for a recreational facility? 
Visitor Question: The City Council of my community (population 12,500) has purchased a long- abandoned building and parking structure, which occupied …

Invest in City Hall or other land uses 
Reviewed: May 31, 2024 Visitor Question: When you have 60 acres empty in the middle of town, does it make sense to invest in the city hall over housing? …

Empowering illiterate women 
Visitor Asks: Why is everything about the youth? What about those women that are encouraged to study further, if after that we are not going to give …

Do big streetscape projects bring maintenance headaches 
Last Reviewed: June 17, 2024 Visitor Question: I'm on the board of a business improvement district. Several of our board members want to see a major …

How to Select an Economic Development Project 
Visitor Asks: What are the secrets to figuring out a good economic development project for my city? We need the jobs and shopping. Editors Reply …

Role of Natural Resources in Economic Development 
Visitor Question: Would you please discuss the role of natural resources in socio-economic development and how have they been utilized in their abundance …

Where development projects get money 
Last Reviewed: June 11, 2024 Visitor Question: How do real estate developments get the money they need? Do all of the funds come from people's pocketbooks, …

Encourage young entrepreneurs 
I'm a chamber of commerce director in a small city. We have a couple of twenty-somethings who have written successful apps for the iPhone. I met one at …

Too many parking lots in big city downtowns 
Last Reviewed: June 10, 2024 Visitor Wrote: More and more parking lots are taking up space in the downtown areas of major cities, it seems to me. …

Diseases and Economic Development 
How does the long term impact of different diseases affect economic development? Editors' Response: We will assume that you are writing from a …

Tourist Attraction for Communities 
What must be done in the community in order to inspire tourists? Editors Answer: Nduh, we have a whole page on tourism and economic development …

Entrepreneurs Can Use the HUB Zone in Urban Core Areas 
Reviewed: June 4, 2024 Visitor Comment: A really cool tool for businesses in the 'hood is the HUB zone program, which the U.S. Small Business Administration …

What can a suburb do about business closings? 
Our suburb was always a beautiful place, mostly built in the 1970s and early 80s, until just recently. We never had any trouble, we had all the conveniences …

Unbanked People Feed the Payday Loan Store Problem 
Reviewed: June 4, 2024 Website Visitor Writes" Many people in our community have lost their bank accounts because of one bounced check. Other older …

Cleaning Up Neighborhood Store Fronts 
How do you get neighborhood businesses to clean up their store fronts? Editors' Reply: Ginny, we're not sure what problem you mean, so we'll answer …

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