Posts Tagged ‘economy’

Main Street

By many measures our economy is on the mend; to what degree depends, unfortunately, on the perspectives of political pundits championing a party, or the cadre of news anchors fighting for ratings. In most cases you are led to believe that the state of our economy, good or bad, is the result of the ‘helping hand’ of government. Somewhere in all of this muck there is a ‘real story’ that goes untold.

I assure you that while we may be in a period of measured growth, or even moderate growth, and more positive consumer confidence, the root cause is not the ‘helping hand.” Reams of economic statistics or elaborate algorithms describing some economic state miss the mark. A politician standing behind a podium in an empty chamber engaged in verbal combat with himself misses the mark. The ‘helping hand’ can only be a hindrance or a catalyst for economic prosperity, it cannot create it!

The following photograph was taken on December 30, 1917 at Pittsburgh Plate Glass on Main Street in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. My grandfather and uncle are in the photo.

Pittsburgh Plate Glass 1917_edited-4

I’ve always liked this photograph because it depicts the foundation of our economy; a business whose survival depends on its capability to create economic value. No ‘helping hand’ back then.

Well guess what? The basic model hasn’t changed; businesses are still being formed and run to create economic value. Their success or failure is determined by their efforts, regardless of the environment; including the ‘helping hand.’ I am sure that if you could ask those in the 1917 photo if their economic environment was tough, they would, without question, say yes. Just like we do today. The difference is the structure and complexity of that environment.

I live near a small community that has a Main Street lined with a variety of small shops and eateries. Outside the downtown area are small industrial companies; manufactures, distributors, service providers, etc. Almost all of them are small privately-held companies and family businesses. This is a microcosm of the substance of our economy; the ‘real story’ that goes untold.

When you talk to these business owners, somewhere in the conversation the ‘helping hand’ topic always comes up. But most of all, they talk about things like;

  • Plans on growing their business.
  • Developing new products or markets.
  • Fighting competition.
  • Family issues.
  • Finding qualified workers.
  • Developing better management competencies.
  • Starting another business.
  • Funding.

Main Street is the driving force of our economy; not the ‘helping hand’ of government. It won’t be a headline on national television or on the front page of newspapers; but it is without a doubt the lifeline of our economic future. It is the untold story.


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