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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

A Wild Ride

Jim strode into ‘John’s Stable’ looking to buy a horse. “Listen here” said John, “I’ve got just the horse you’re looking for, the only thing is, he was trained by an interesting fellow. He doesn’t go and stop the usual way. The way to get him to stop is to scream heyhey and the way to get him to go is to scream Thank God.

Jim nodded his head, “fine with me, can I take him for a test ride?” Jim was having the time of his life.  This horse sure could run he thought to himself. Jim was speeding down the dirt road when he suddenly saw a cliff up ahead “stop!” screamed Jim, but the horse kept on going. No matter how much he tried he could not remember the words to get it to stop. “Yoyo” screamed Jim but the horse just kept on speeding ahead. It was 5 feet from the cliff when Jim suddenly remembered. “Heyhey!” Jim screamed. The horse skidded to a halt just inches from the cliff.

Jim could not believe his good fortune; he looked up to the sky, raised his hands in the air, breathed a deep sigh of relief and said with conviction “Thank God.”

Jim’s story reminds me that often the key to our economy can seem like the missing command to stop or start a horse. When all we actually need is the ability to understand the basic concepts needed to move our economy ahead.

The simple way to think of our economy is to imagine Tama County’s economy as a funnel with money (capital) flowing into the top as well as money filtering out the bottom.  The funnel analogy represents a number of key concepts. First, Tama County is intimately linked with the rest of the world through the inflow and outflow of income and goods. Second, our county uses resources to produce the outputs that we sell. These resources can be available locally or purchased elsewhere. Third, the size of the funnel (our economy) is determined essentially by the inflow of capital and the lack of money leaving (leakage).

So how do we increase the flow of capital into our county and slow the leakage of it out? That is the command that directs the horse. Often times the more difficult a problem seems, the simpler its solution actually is. I believe one of the first steps will be for the people of Tama County to realize that they have to actually become involved. If you live here, you are involved. Everyone reading this article has the opportunity to come see what some Tama County residents have done (and are doing) on Tuesday, August 27, 2013, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Reinig Center in Toledo, the site of the Q3 2013 Pitch & Build.

All Tama County residents are STRONGLY encouraged to support these entrepreneurs by contacting our office at:  info@tamacountyiowa.org or by calling 641-484-3108 to RSVP with Joanne.

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