What’s wrong with a lit­tle ‘flash, glitz’? Let’s go for it!

We don’t have to be so mod­est. Here in the heart­land, we have the work­ers and qual­ity of life to at­tract Ama­zon.

Star Tribune - - EDITORIALS READERS WRITE - By CHUCK LEER Chuck Leer, of Min­neapo­lis, is co-founder of 2020 Part­ners. The opin­ions ex­pressed here are solely his own.

Those urg­ing “re­straint” in our state’s bid to be­come Ama­zon’s sec­ond head­quar­ters site are not do­ing us any fa­vors (“Bid for Ama­zon lacks flash, glitz,” Oct. 8).

Re­mem­ber, we com­pete — ev­ery day — in the global econ­omy. The Ama­zon en­ter­prise has trans­formed Amer­i­can busi­ness. Why wouldn’t we try to work with them on a global scale, par­tic­u­larly since it al­ready has es­tab­lished re­gional of­fices in a cut­ting-edge build­ing in the North Loop?

At­tract­ing Ama­zon need not be a zero-sum game. It isn’t al­ways about win­ners and losers. As Ama­zon has rolled out dis­tri­bu­tion cen­ters around the coun­try, too many com­mu­ni­ties have en­gaged in eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment wars in an ef­fort to land them and coughed up too much pub­lic money. If we’re smart — which we are, as Stu­art Smal­ley re­minds us — we can set the rules of the game so we don’t get fleeced.

An ed­u­cated work­force is one of our strong suits, but to grow our econ­omy we need more work­ers. De­mo­graphic trends in­di­cate there won’t be enough young, home­grown tal­ent to meet the need. So let’s try some­thing else. Let’s build on our al­ready strong econ­omy, at­tract the best busi­nesses in the world and de­velop new mod­els for growth.

We may be fly­over coun­try, but we’re also the heart­land. Our qual­ity of life is un­sur­passed. They like us here. We’ve al­ready staked out our val­ues. The cre­ative econ­omy in Sil­i­con Prairie is flourishing be­cause we’ve done the hard work over gen­er­a­tions and much of the crit­i­cal phys­i­cal, hu­man and cul­tural in­fra­struc­ture is in place. Ama­zon’s site re­quire­ments fo­cus pri­mar­ily on a re­gion’s busi­ness cli­mate, not cor­po­rate wel­fare.

Note: To those con­cerned about pro­tect­ing home­grown Tar­get and Best Buy, we should not for­get the gen­er­ous and well-de­served gov­ern­men­tal as­sis­tance af­forded those com­pa­nies for their cor­po­rate cam­puses. In the heart­land, the cor­po­rate quid pro quo for eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment pack­ages is giv­ing back, which Tar­get and Best Buy do ev­ery day. By at­tract­ing Ama­zon, maybe we can teach them some­thing about be­ing a good neigh­bor.

Rather than re­treat un­der the cover of cul­tural mod­esty, let’s go for it and com­pete — if not with flash, at least with con­vic­tion. Mak­ing the pitch re­minds us how great this place is and how we as a com­mu­nity need to find new ways to grow and pros­per.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.