On the scarcity mindset

Just to follow up on that last post I want to make clarification.  I believe that in general when it comes to economic development in Atlantic Canada there seems to be scarcity mindset.  I have blogged on this before.  What I mean by a scarcity mindset is that many people in government, community and economic development leadership believe that there is some finite amount of economic development potential in the region and it is each province’s objective to get as much of that finite amount as possible.

For example, let’s say there are 10 major ED projects each year for the region (energy, FDI, major expansions, R&D projects, etc.).  New Brunswick wants more than Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia wants more than New Brunswick and they somehow ‘fight it out’.  Think RIM, Molson, CGI, Pratt & Whitney, etc.

I have a different view.  I believe that if there are areas where the region can collaborate (such as through ACOA and a much greater emphasis on attracting global investment but it can include people attraction, university collaboration, etc.) it might generate 20 or 30 major ED projects (again these are not real numbers just for example).  In other words, increase the potential for all through collaboration.

Now when I raise this the typical responses are “Halifax will get everything” or some such thing.  To that I say this.  There is nothing that would stop a province from backing out of some collaborative efforts if one province or another ended up disporportionately benefitting.  But I don’t see the harm in trying.

Again, it comes down to relationships and distrust at the highest levels runs deep in this region.

3 thoughts on “On the scarcity mindset

  1. Am I correct that you are suggesting the best way to get cooperation is to start at the top and work down? In other words forget trying to get Dieppe and Moncton cooperating (who cannot even agree on Farmer’s markets and drinking water) and first get two provinces working together, then maybe regions in those provinces, then major population bases then perhaps communities and neighbourhoods? I agree cooperation is critical in a small, resource limited area but not sure why a top down approach may work when there is so much disagreement and competition at the lower levels.

  2. “Job seekers swarming to Atlantic provinces”

    That’s the title of a story in today’s Mop and Pail. I can hear Ontarians saying ‘so, why are they getting the equalization, dude?’

    We’d better get our cooperation up and running soon.

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