Posted: November 24, 2020 by Kelly Murphy-Redd
Everyone knows the three rules of real estate are location, location, location. These “rules” apply to economic development as well.

One could argue the United States has been a great location for economic development. It must be, since millions of people have always come from other countries to start a new life. This of course, includes starting a new job or business. We can look back to the Mayflower this Thanksgiving season to find an example of this travel to America to obtain freedom and the desire to have more control over one’s destiny. The United States has become the most powerful, influential and prosperous country in the world. We have also been the most free.

We also look back to the Revolutionary War, as the foundation of our freedoms were codified by the Declaration of Independence and later our Constitution. In 1776, Adam Smith wrote An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations. Smith wanted to study the causes of prosperity. He concluded free markets, protection of private property rights, and minimal government presence in the economy lead to prosperity. These conclusions were generally accepted until the 20th century when economists started thinking centrally planned, government controlled economies were the keys to prosperity. When these kinds of governments started collapsing, economists started moving back to Smith’s ideas. Freedom promotes growth.

For hundreds of years, those who promote freedom and those who wish to dominate and control others have fought on the world stage. Corruption may thrive for a while but freedom usually wins out. Last month I talked about Cuba, Venezuela and Russia as places without freedom. China can be added to that list.

Religious freedom, political freedom and our Constitutional rights are what make America the greatest nation on earth. A stable monetary system, secure private property rights, an impartial legal system, low taxes, and minimal government promote economic growth and prosperity.

Within the United States, the different states have different policies. I talked this year about how the Covid-19 policies of states have negatively impacted their economic development beyond what the pandemic alone may have caused. I refer to the over-the-top, control-oriented decisions regarding lockdowns and what is “essential.” Then I talked about how the riots allowed and the destruction of businesses have caused obvious negative results economically. These policy decisions made by elected officials and the resulting destruction will impact those communities for decades. People are leaving these cities in droves. Citizens don’t feel safe there and can’t make a living.

I contacted the economic development organizations in the cities of Portland, Seattle and Minneapolis. I asked them to share with me what they are doing to try and help their communities with regards to the rioting. They refused to give me any information. I will try again.

In Florida, we haven’t had the multiple over-burdensome, non-scientific lockdowns. Our governor did what was necessary at the beginning of the pandemic when nothing was known about the virus. Then he opened up. He never banned churches from holding services. He never mandated masks. He has said we won’t have another lockdown. He has been a visible and vocal proponent of law and order. We had an uneventful election process as opposed to years past when Florida’s process was a problem.

Florida is the recipient of new residents as they flee cities who continually lock down and whose crime rates have skyrocketed. Many Floridians are thanking God they live in Florida right now. I know I am.

In Okaloosa County, we haven’t had control-obsessed officials trying to mandate what we do in our own homes. We also have an economic development organization that has adapted to conditions and worked to connect businesses to resources, virtual education and information. In a business where relationships is a key factor to doing business, they have worked to provide alternatives to in-person participation.

All in all, we should be thankful this season to live in Florida with regards to our personal lives and freedoms. We should also be thankful that this freedom allows Florida and Okaloosa County to thrive where other communities are not.