Rhode Island’s Poor Entrepreneurial Performance
The word “entrepreneur” has been thrown around Rhode Island a lot in recent months and years. To most people, one suspects, concepts like economic development, entrepreneurialism, knowledge economy, twenty-first century workforce, and skills gap blur into a mosaic of sounds-good promises. The idea is that “they” (the folks in positions to modify public policy) are trying to do something, and this stuff has a feel of the future… whatever it might look like and however “they” might bring it about.
The first problem with chasing this star is that, largely thanks to “them,” the fundamentals do not exist in Rhode Island for real economic growth to take hold. The rules that the state’s various governments impose are stringent; they are constantly in indecisive flux; and as evidenced in the judges call for mediation of a statute, the folks who hold power are far too prepared to disregard the rules in the name of simply doing what they deem to be necessary or right.
The second, much more important, problem with the attitude described above is that economic growth is not something that “they” accomplish by sparking action by some class of people with ideas and insights beyond normal imagining. Economic growth is something that we accomplish — the Rhode Islanders who are already here, supporting their families and building their lives.
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