Think, think, think

I have to admit a little nostalgia for kiddie movies. I used to watch several a week with my kids when they were young. I particularly liked Winnie the Pooh – who used to bang himself on the noggin and say “think, think, think” when he needed to remember something.

I am reading Richard J. Gwyn’s new book John A: The Man Who Made Us and enjoying it so far. I don’t read enough Canadian history as I should.

Anyway, Gwyn spends a little time on the rise of Scotland during the 18th Century. Here is how Wikipedia describes it:

The Scottish Enlightenment was a remarkable period in 18th century Scotland characterized by a great outpouring of intellectual and scientific accomplishments rivaling that of any other nation at any time in history. What made it even more remarkable was that it took place in a country which was among the poorest and was thought to be among the most backward in western Europe prior to that time, in addition to having a substantially smaller population base and infrastructure than many other major western European nations.

Reading this stuff just reinforces my belief that New Brunswick needs to spend a lot more money and focus on researching economic development issues. Wouldn’t it be neat if some of the best ideas for regional economic development eminated out of New Brunswick over the next 50 years?

We get so stuck in our own little worlds, haggling over little issues and the world just passes us by sometimes.

I think the public and private sectors in New Brunswick should fund a non-partisan think tank on economic development. Not your standard academic fair where you get a paper published every three years on the use of goat milk to stimulate rural economic development in Botswana (although that is important). No, as I have outlined on these pages before, I am talking about a serious policy support research institute that is pumping out research on the best global models for dealing with regional economic disparities, attracting global biz investment to poorer regions, fostering successful entrepreneurship in a place like New Brunswick, etc.

I would tack on a robust economic monitoring and benchmarking effort and take a broad view. Ideally, the stuff published in New Brunswick would find applicability in Wales, Maine and underperforming parts of Germany, France, etc.

Just throwing more crap around to see if anything might stick.