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