Image via Wikipedia
Here is how Spokane promotes itself – this quote is from the Washington State website “ChooseWashington.com”:
Spokane, the second-largest city in Washington state, serves as the business, transportation, medical, industrial, and cultural hub of the Inland Northwest.
Spokane’s low business costs and productive workforce make this area the ideal place to relocate a business.
The two competitive advantages are “low business costs” which is a direct proxy for “low wages/poverty”, and “productive workforce”, which means productive per unit – or low wages – for the purpose of business relocation to Spokane. As I have written about on these pages, my hypothesis is that Spokane has long benefited from national recessions because firms then moved to reduce costs by moving to lower cost cities, like Spokane. In a globalized economy, Spokane is no longer the lowest cost provider. This strategy of promoting our region’s chronic low wages will not be successful to achieve goals of raising wages and opportunities. Instead, we will get more casino, restaurant, hotel and call center jobs, plus the usual government/education/health care jobs.
The source for these quotes is the Spokane page on ChooseWashington.com.
Compare Spokane’s two competitive advantages to those of other regions in the State.
Benton County offers electric rates that are among the lowest in the nation and an excellent transportation network that includes highways, two national railroads and commercial air and barge services. Benton County is a top choice for companies seeking access to major markets and affordable power.
Ranked as one of the top ten high technology communities in the nation, Benton County features an emphasis on innovation and technology. The Tri Cities boasts an employment rate of 19% in technology and topped the list as the most secure mid-sized city in America.
Here is how King County is promoted:
King County is the largest business center in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest with cutting-edge companies and an unmatched spirit of innovation. The county is home to some of the world’s most successful businesses including Amazon.com, Boeing Commercial Airplanes,Costco, Starbucks, Safeco, and many more. The highly educated workforce, exceptional quality of life, entrepreneurial culture, and strategic location – midway between Asia and Europe – attract companies to this area.
King County is a leading global center for several emerging industries, including aerospace, biotechnology, clean technology, information technology, and international trade and logistics. In 2005, Seattle was ranked the most well educated city in the country.
ChooseWashington.com : King County.
And Chelan County:
Located in the heart of Washington state, Chelan County offers business and industry a state-of-the-art fiber optic highway, videoconferencing, meeting and training facilities.
Chelan County also boasts some of the lowest power rates in the country, generated by the Columbia river hydroelectric dams, and healthy and vibrant agriculture and tourism industries.
The Spokane region’s economic promotional strategy seems as incoherent as the incoherent clustering strategy (and also).