Red State economic development policy

What are some things red states can do to encourage innovation and desirable economic development? Where can they build on existing advantages to take the lead nationally in important sectors in ways that enhance rather than dilute our values?

This is particularly important in financial services, where hostile institutions are increasingly a threat.

It is an opportunity to take a lead on disruptive educational models (both lower and higher)—another area the left dominates, and innovation is likely to be heavily shaped or limited by policy.

And while most Silicon Valley-style innovation has focused on the digital world, red states may be able to gain an advantage in innovations that touch the physical world—where blue state regulation is often particularly constricting. But it should be done in ways that elevate and empower red state citizens and build local businesses; these shouldn’t just be regulatory arbitrage plays for companies whose focus (and values) remain in Silicon Valley. Construction and logistics seem like enormous spaces ripe for innovation where Silicon Valley has struggled, and red states could take a lead.

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I posted a related response in another thread on this forum, but essentially an idea for enabling red state innovation would be to emulate a startup ecosystem for aligning founders. New Founding has started this but expanding on it could be really valuable. It’d be really neat to have a hub/network for right leaning companies and entrepreneurs who reject woke business. Some things I mentioned included meetup events, speakers, coworking, access to investors, startup showcases, etc.

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Great thoughts and comments! I’d like to add that it would be important to pay attention to the backgrounds of the up-and-coming political leaders in Red states. Up-and-coming making reference to that fact that most will be of a younger age who will be armed with new ideas based on new technologies, supplanting the more “traditional” members of state house and senate chambers, and their respective leadership. Embracing the areas of expertise of these new leaders, I believe, will help to assist in the expediting, implementation, and execution of newly-designed, outside-the-box sectors of economic development. All that is not to say that we give up on what’s been working, but create greater economic efficiencies by forming new strategic partnerships based on PROVEN advances in technology. The sandbox size remains the same, but allow more to play in it, and those who play in it play well together.

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Red states tend of have “business friendly” as their identity. Lots of them brag about how business friendly they are, but you never hear them brag about being “citizen friendly.”

To me this is the core shift. Rather than economic development via prostration before firms, work to make your state the best place to be a conservative citizen.

The truth is that there’s more mystery to economic development than we’d like. There’s a 23 state region in the Midwest and Northeast that is basically stagnant despite a wide range of state policies from deep red Indiana to socialist Vermont. Nothing has produced growth.

But these places can legislate and govern in accordance with the interests and preferences of their people.

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Jack, I’d be interested in discussing this hub/network idea with you directly. I don’t see a way to take a conversation offline on New Founding (I think it would be a good feature). Are you on linkedin?

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You can direct message other people on here. More tools to facilitate extensive discussion are a goal

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Our plans include organizing several of these, including events/conferences, and co-working spaces. The latter has actually been something we’ve been talking about at NF for a few months–just created a topic to discuss:

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Great. How do I direct message someone? I looked for that feature but could not figure it out.

Click on the profile picture and there should be a “Message” button

I do not see a message button when I click on the profile picture.

This is a refreshing point. I have been giving some thought to this problem recently, though the terminology of “red state strategy” is new to me and also helpful. There seems to be something inherent in both Blue state and red-state politics that has seemed to put us back on our heels. My gut intuition tells me that the left has an inherent idealism coupled with activism at the local level. I think this is precisely where we are losing the battle on so many fronts because school boards, city councils, and voting volunteers are dominated by blue state ideologues who are looking for practical outlets with which to press their agenda… and it has paid off.

It seems on the right, our quasi-libertarian ‘leave me alone to live my life as I see fit,’ mentality has also lead us to be less involved in these areas. This seems to be the battleground for the future. If we do not implement a red-state ideological activism at the grassroots level that will push back blue statism at the most granular level, it seems we will have lost the battle before we get started.

It seems as far as all these various spheres are concerned (economic, educational, business development, etc.) it seems we will remain on our backfoot to implement such disruptions. How we do this seems to need a great deal of mental messaging on our part.

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There should be a nationwide Red State strategy as well as a state-by-state strategy. At the state level, what makes sense for Florida might not be the same as for Texas. Doing something in Montana is going to be different from Missouri.

However, one intriguing industry that applies to multiple states is the Exploration Economy or the Space Economy or whatever the label du jour is. Alaska might be a hotbed for space exploration and research and development regarding hardship habitats. Similarly, you can see an exploration economy infrastructure spanning the Gulf Coast from Houston (Johnson Center) to Mississippi (Stennis) to Florida (Cape Canaveral). The aerospace economy - with the prospect of new frontiers, freedom to move, freedom to discover and explore, requiring hardship and grit seems tailor-made for Red Staters.

On a defensive front, there needs to develop equally competent and attractive alternatives to leftist-oriented server farms, cyber infrastructure, social platforms, media, defense manufacturers, energy producers, investment firms, etc. Red States need to control their own critical infrastructure and opinion formation tools. Red business leaders need to learn what works, apprentice, copy, improve and expand.

In terms of what to do about cities - support black capital asset accumulation. Blacks account for 13% of the population but control only 5% of the nation’s financial assets. De-concentrate poverty by converting public housing into rent-to-own opportunities. Convert red fields (financially distressed properties) to green fields to reduce blight and increase property values in low income neighborhoods. Expand Opportunity Zones. Create tax exempt corridors in low income neighborhoods. Study what the Cubans and other Latino groups did to flourish in Miami. Build on lessons learned from Jack Kemp, Joel Kotkin and others.

There’s no such thing as a rifle shot solution, but it is essential that Red States build up their finance, technology and critical infrastructure assets, and figure out ways to reclaim their cities economically at least.

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I agree (w/ JS Winter) that going state by state is a great start for any strategy. Especially since these efforts are in their early stages (aligned investors being few and far between), we’ll need to rely on local entrepreneurs sprouting on the state level so they can eventually go national from a solid foundation. One hopes this is the case with space exploration.

A good question I see being raised is whether the “defensive front” or ‘offensive front’ should take primacy. Once things start rolling, America’s corporations will undoubtedly clamp down (if not out of an ideological concern, than out of pure competitiveness). Adding to Winter’s point about Red State propriety over infrastructure offering protection, I see two options serving both ‘fronts’. One is the model of state banks like The Bank of North Dakota that use participation loans to help local institutions fund citizen-led projects. North Dakota thus exports less capital and invests in itself as bank policy is checked by the electoral process (to say nothing of being staffed by North Dakotans who care about their home). The second option is what I’ve mentioned elsewhere of a ‘Red Consulting Firm’ that would network isolated ‘red’ businesses. In doing so, they could expand supplier and customer bases through each other. And they would be largely ‘uncancelable’ given that the whole supply chain shares similar values. This also strikes the blue-coalition’s blind spot where most of its analysts and venture capitalists ignore rural areas (as it’s easier to deal with the urban pockets).

Though Aaron M. Renn’s post has a point as to the doubtful effectiveness of these measures to produce economic growth, let alone red-oriented growth. Can the heartland fuel proper economic momentum?

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