Promise Zones are not Strategic Networks

By Zachary Alexander on

Last week, President Barack Obama designated some lesser industrialized communities as promise zones. This is a dream come true for old establishment Republicans. You can think of a promise zone as an incentive program sponsored by the federal government. The problem is that promise zones are not strategic networks and post-globalists would consider a promise zone an example of rent seeking.

You can consider rent seeking as the act of getting the federal government to give you money to take the risk on a given project for the purposes of this blog. It could also be called faux-risk because the “job creator” does not actually assume the risk. The federal government assumes the risk. While some jobs will be created, the majority of the money will go into the pockets of service providers.

Promise Zones as they are described are not strategic networks. Strategic Networks are like planned industry clusters or designed entrepreneurial ecosystems. Unlike promise zones, strategic networks have direction and a clear line of responsibility. On the other hand, it’s difficult to see how the government can maintain the integrity of the private companies in the promise zones and positive control of how the funds are used.

Without any Post-Globalism talk, it will be very difficult for taxpayers to understand what is at stake. Given the rollout, it appears that the rent seekers are setting the federal government up to take the fall when there aren’t many jobs created. A better option would be to develop strategic networks with a Post-Globalism mindset. If for no other reason than the fact that Post-globalism doesn’t require that things are perfect the first time.

Zachary Alexander