Rural Alabama is the key to economic recovery.

Downtown Roanoke, Alabama

According to an article entitled “Rural England key to economic recovery”

Rural England is leading the way to economic recovery, thanks to high levels of entrepreneurship in the countryside, a report has revealed.

Rural Alabama can lead the way to economic recovery too if provided an opportunity. However, our leadership in Montgomery must enact economic policies which allow our small businesses from the local economies to flourish. Alabama must cease creating an hostile  environment for our locally-owned, small businesses.

The report highlights three areas which make rural communities ideal economic platforms to lead us into a prosperous 21st century:  (1) Economic recovery, (2) Building strong communities, and (3) providing the natural resources needed by the whole country.

Confirming what I argued here, the report locates England’s strength in the “high levels of entrepreneurship and the apparent resilience to the recession shown by rural based businesses. This is particularly important given the scope for rural areas to provide new ‘green jobs’ for both rural and urban residents.”

The report properly links resilience and entrepreneurship. Thriving entrepreneurship within a local economy provides the necessary flexibility and agility for rapid response to unexpected upheavals from Wall Street, or Japan, or China.

Let's create economic "speed boats" again: small businesses

The small, locally-owned business described in the report can be compared to ski and bass boats on Lake Wedowee, which have the ability to zig & zag on a dime. In contradistinction, the policy-makers in Montgomery are enamored by Titanic-sized companies and create an environment to encourage the development and maintenance of the over-sized vessels.   To follow the analogy, if  you placed the Titanic on Lake Wedowee, all the ski boats and bass boats would be crowded out and such a vessel would displace the water from entire lake.  Similarly, the economic policies of Montgomery (and D.C. too) have crowded out the real engines of recovery, the small businesses, and disrupted our local economies. (Remember: Alabama ranks 47th in entrepreneurial activity.)

On another note, supporting my arguments here, the report continues by concluding that:

Rural people have a strong sense of community. They are more likely to give unpaid help, to participate in local decision-making and to feel that people in their area share values and pull together, than people living in urban areas. This evidence indicates that rural people are in a strong position to respond positively to the new agenda around community-based activity and local empowerment.”

Because of these benefits, let’s begin building small businesses again, the economic “speed boats.” There is a place for economic “cruise-liners;” however, it is well past time to balance our support in such a fleet.

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