Editorial #150 Development of Nebraska
Many people are making careers out of ways to promote our great state. Practically every community has an economic development director, not to mention each county as well as the Governor having a cabinet position with the same title. The reason economic development efforts usually fail is: The problem was not perfectly defined. It must be identified first if there is any hope of solving it and that solution is not creating more jobs. That is a result.
The words “Create Jobs” is code for finding a way to give a paycheck to someone regardless if there is any work to do. Being paid for anything where no problem is solved is called “welfare”.
Economic development means: having people relocate to an area where they can make a comfortable living with the amenities of modern life: shopping, entertainment, transportation, safe and clean environment, schools, communication and health care while working in a simple work-life balance.
Most people would love to live in a rural setting if they could still have all those amenities. The saying: “If you build it, they will come” is not true! Simply providing amenities is putting the cart before the horse. That is called building a retirement community. This approach does not provide sustainable economic development, if a problem is not being solved by those who are living there.
The problem that Nebraska can solve is “plastics”. Five percent of all the world’s oil production is converted into plastic that is not biodegradable. The world uses 500,000 barrels of oil per day to make plastic, that never goes away, unless burned. The market value of that much oil is $10 Billion/year, not counting the environmental cost to the planet. The solution requires the replacement of plastic with something that has similar properties, but biodegradable. Hemp is that natural resource that would replace oil as the base material in products derived from oil. Hemp satisfies the requirement of being recyclable, sustainable, biodegradable and environmentally friendly. Hemp is ideally suited for Nebraska’s climate as well as having all the ingredients for providing a sustainable economic environment.
Hemp development has been going on since the 1930’s in private workshops and garages by “alchemist types” who are closer to “moonshiners” than scientists. No one has decided to “own” the problem of plastics to have investors focus on this pending ecological disaster. Plastic will bury the planet if not addressed. This is the opportunity Nebraska has: be the leader in the world in the production of hemp and saving the planet from plastics. It could be like the oil boom of the 20th century in states like Texas, Alaska, North Dakota or California.
Jeff Bezos is a smart man and one would think hemp would be a far superior place to invest the $10 Billion he pledged to combat man-made climate change. The world already spent $20 trillion over the past 40 years with no tangible results. All the hoopla and naysayers around man-made global warming was a complete waste of energy and money, with nothing to show for their efforts other than a piles of propaganda reports and demonstration signs.
The boom to Nebraska would include every sector the Nebraska’s economy. Our schools and universities, medical centers, manufacturing, construction, financial markets, agriculture machinery and supplies, agriculture land usage and the quality of life would all benefit. Nebraska may, honestly, not be for everyone, but it has the best combination of advantages of any state in the union, if we commit to it.
This is Keith Kube wishing you the best in making the world a better place.
Bumper: Keith has a regular commentary on WJAG 780 radio at 7:40 on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Check his website www.keithkube.com for past editorials.