I have been talking to a lot of people lately about a project I am working on and there seems to be a consistent theme. Just about everyone views economic development as a type of zero-sum game where in order for one community to ‘win’ another community must ‘lose’.
The result of this attitude, of course, is that a) people spend too much time fighting for their piece of this small economic pie and b) increasing acrimony between communities and regions.
For Joe Q. Public, who cares? The bottom line is that this is a win-win situation. I have friends going to Halifax to see Kiss and McCartney and friends in Halifax coming to see AC/DC in Moncton. Everyone wins because the concert scene is vastly improved for all.
Was it the rivaly that actually helped improve the concert scene in the Maritimes? Maybe but I have always said that healthy competition between cities is a good thing as long as it doesn’t devolve into bitter acrimony and lead to an inability to work together on regional issues that matter.
We need to have the same approach to economic development broadly. Bathurst’s gain shouldn’t be seen as Moncton’s loss. Fredericton’s gain shouldn’t be seen as Edmundston’s loss. Sure, there will be winners and losers but in the end we need to increase the overall size of the economic pie or it will end up harming all.