April 11, 2011

The Top-Down Model of Economic Development

Justin Katz

It's possible that all of the corporate executives on the Economic Development Corporation's board wouldn't dream of allowing their own companies' interests affect their prescriptions for the state's economy. It's even more possible that state government will treat the board's activities as a nice show to prove that everybody's really, really interested in turning Rhode Island around. Still, this makes me nervous:

EDC Executive Director Keith W. Stokes, who previously served on the board for 15 years, commended the board and gave Chafee credit for its new direction.

"This is unique," Stokes said. "This is the first time that the EDC will be driven by the board ... and that in itself is going to have an incredible value because these men and women — they're the eyes and ears of the business leadership."

Well, they're the eyes and ears of Collette Vacations Inc., Ximedica, CVS Caremark Corp., Betaspring, VIBCO, and Banneker Industries, anyway. Whether they'll recommend steps that would make it easier for start-ups or immigrating businesses to compete with their companies remains to be seen.

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You do realize that Betaspring is a startup accelerator, yes?

I think this is exactly the kind of value we should be getting from the EDC board.

Posted by: Russ at April 11, 2011 1:54 PM
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