Wednesday, August 01, 2007

What's Local?

It burns me when a business tries to make it appear it's located in Durham. I'm not talking about the organizations that rent a post office box in the Durham postal substation for Research Triangle Park. I'm talking about businesses that join the local chamber of commerce, for example, then send solicitations as a "local organization."

I got one today and had to read clear to the bottom to determine that, in fact, the business wasn't local; it is based in Raleigh. I guess, from Mars, Raleigh looks local to Durham, but not from here.

You see, local Durham businesses are not just businesses that try to do business in Durham. They are physically located here, pay taxes to support Durham services and build Durham facilities like the ballpark, hire Durham residents and buy services from Durham businesses.

Any economist can tell you that economic impact is measured by location. A business located in Raleigh taking business away from Durham businesses really located here is creating what's called "import leakage." And when the economy is measured that doesn't count as impact. In fact, economic development in part is the process of having more and more services provided locally so they truly impact the local economy.

I'm not against free trade. But I'm a huge proponent of "truth in addressing as well as advertising."

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