Sunday, November 1, 2009

Chamber Trips To A Black Hole

Much has been talked about the recent Commerce Lexington trip and its follow-up visit by Rebecca Ryan, a Madison consultant, but we are not the only ones to have controversy about these types of "Chamber trips". Mary Newsom, on her blog "The Naked City" had a review of Charlotte's visit by the Minneapolis/St Paul Chamber of last week. Apparently, one of the questions brought up by some of the participants was whether the visited city had audacity while the visitor was considered ambivalent.

How does this translate into the Lexington experience? Does Madison, Wisconsin take on the mantle of audacity while we here in Lexington sit back in our ambivalence and cruise through on our southern hospitality, college basketball and horse industry? Some of you will think Lexington needs to show a bit more audacity and promote itself more on its aspects that are far removed from those that I've already listed. Some will maintain that we should take on more of how other cities do things and yet not look like Anywhere, USA. I think that we should look at other cities, not for just what works but also how it works(and I don't mean the mechanics of it working) and why it works. What are all the pieces needed to allow it to work rather than forcing it to work in spite of lacking key elements? The true success to gathering ideas of others is that it is not a buffet, to pick and choose parts, but a jigsaw puzzle which need all the pieces to be give the complete picture.

Often the best part of these types of blogs are comments made by the readers and this one is no exception. One commenter went so far as to read the agenda, notice that the topics were things that normal readers heard little about and asked why this information, freely given to those from other cities, were kept from the average Charlotte resident.

Trips like this may be useful to those taking them(or so they say) but also may be becoming fewer and farther between with the demise of cheap oil. And some of these junkets are(or have been) simple excuses to visit other cities' night life(i.e. gentlemen's clubs etc...), have expensive meals or visit tourist sites at no charge. We have all read about these kinds of things lately haven't we?

The point is, that there is only so much of the economy that can be split between the various communities without stealing from others. We don't need to steal our portion of the economy, we need to grow our own. I have a feeling that in the coming economic reset that there will be the need to do more of everything for ourselves, even a lot more local food production and material fabrications. Our wresting of a larger portion of the economic pie from the larger cities would be like retrieving matter from a black hole after it has passed the event horizon.

What is the catalyst that will make Lexington an economic black hole and start to draw from other areas without copying them?

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