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These comments are responses to the statements listed below,
which were generated in regard to the
Frank Conte Interview of
09-06-2013.
 

Minnesota ranks third in nation on competitiveness index

                                                                                                          OVERVIEW

Since 2001, the Beacon Hill Institute (BHI) at Suffolk University has produced an annual index on state competitiveness. The report analyzes 43 indicators divided into eight sub-indexes - government and fiscal policy, security, infrastructure, human resources, technology, business incubation, openness, and environmental policy.

Frank A. Conte, director of communications and information services at the Beacon Hill Institute, discussed the drivers of state competitiveness and the limits of their study. He argued that competitiveness is the ability of a nation, state, or region to generate economic growth. Generally, this conception favors economically resilient areas with diverse economies (e.g. Massachusetts).

For the complete interview summary see: Conte interview

Response Summary: Average response ratings shown below are simply the mean of all readers’ zero-to-ten responses to the ideas proposed and should not be considered an accurate reflection of a scientifically structured poll.

Readers were asked to rank the following on a scale of 0-10 ("not at all important" to "very important").

1. Value of topic. (7.6 average response) How useful to you is today's interview?

2. Value of further study. (8.7 average response) How would you rank the importance of scheduling additional interviews on this topic?

Readers were asked to rate, on a scale of (0) most disagreement, to (5) neutral, to (10) most agreement, the following points made during the discussion.

3. High ranking due to diversity. (8.0 average response) Minnesota's overall high ranking as a competitive state is a result of its diverse economy, with not just one or two major business sectors, but several.

4. Other factors are assets. (8.0 average response) Other strengths supporting Minnesota's high ranking are an educated population, a reputation for good government, and a strong labor force.

5. Other factors are deficits. (7.7 average response) But the state ranks lower in state and local taxes, unemployment insurance, academic science and engineering, and cost of labor.

6. Globalization limits options. (7.6 average response) A state's ability to affect its rankings is limited because the flow of global trade and capital are growing in importance and are beyond the state's influence.

7. Education, infrastructure, aid to poor key. (8.3 average response) To be competitive, states should concentrate on providing high-quality public education and infrastructure and doing their best to provide for the poor.

Response Distribution:

Not at all

Slightly

Neutral

Moderately

Very

Total Responses

1. Usefulness of topic.

0%

0%

22%

56%

22%

9

2. Importance of further study.

0%

0%

0%

56%

44%

9

 

Response Distribution:

Strongly disagree

Moderately disagree

Neutral

Moderately agree

Strongly agree

Total Responses

3. High ranking due to diversity.

11%

0%

0%

44%

44%

9

4. Other factors are assets.

0%

11%

11%

33%

44%

9

5. Other factors are deficits.

0%

0%

22%

56%

22%

9

6. Globalization limits options.

11%

0%

0%

56%

33%

9

7. Education, infrastructure, aid to poor key.

0%

11%

11%

33%

44%

9

Individual Responses:

Lyle Wright (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10) (10)

Malcolm McDonald (5) (10) (0) (5) (5) (0) (5)

1. Value of topic. Believe we need to have much more discussion on what "competitiveness" means for the future. Having so few students in science, technology, engineering and math in our high schools leads to a severe competitive handicap. We need more young people wanting to teach these subjects and do so from the standpoint of how students develop a passion for them and literally have a life in them.

2. Value of further study. Need to interview employers as well as academics, policy makers and commentators.

3. High ranking due to diversity. Do not have the international competitive rank. That is what counts. Have a severe shortage in the work place. Have to bring in people from other parts of the country and the world to meet our employment demands.

4. Other factors are assets. Strength comes from creativity translated into actions that meet human needs. We are nowhere close to looking at our future from this sense of "purpose".

5. Other factors are deficits. Major undiscussed factor: We have approximately 200,000 students of school age not in any school. We have 25% of Minneapolis residents in poverty. We have an unsustainable percentage growth in the requirements for human services, court services, police, sheriff, incarceration and welfare. Too many people are not looking for work despite the availability of jobs because they do not have the skills, are not interested, are depressed and can live off of others. We need to discuss who is working on reducing these growth rates and find ways to support those who are so working.

6. Globalization limits options. Completely misses the point that we are a global state with rising exports and an increasing number of employers doing business all over the world. Omits considering those abroad who invest here.

7. Education, infrastructure, aid to poor key. Pouring in more money misses the point. We need to focus on what goes on in the mind of each child and how that child decides to "have a life".

Don Anderson (7.5) (7.5) (10) (10) (7.5) (7.5) (7.5)

Kevin Edberg (10) (10) (10) (10) (7.5) (10) (10)

1. Value of topic. I appreciate the on-going focus on issues related to competitiveness, and the various ways it is understood and benchmarked.

7. Education, infrastructure, aid to poor key. Investment in human capital has been a source of wealth creation for our state, which has complemented our pre-existing natural capital.

Anonymous (7.5) (10) (10) (10) (5) (7.5) (10)

3. High ranking due to diversity. But I disagree about Conte's comment that manufacturing is less important. It's a major factor in MN economic growth.

Tom Spitznagle (5) (7) (8) (8) (8) (7) (4)

I gave number 4 a ranking of 8 despite my disagreement with one of its points, i.e., that Minnesota is known for having good (state) government. That is definitely not true.

Chuck Lutz (7) (7) (9) (9) (8) (9) (9)

Wayne Jennings (8) (8) (8) (8) (8) (7) (10)

Fred Zimmerman (8) (9) (7) (2) (10) (10) (9)

Minnesota is a good state and has the potential to be an outstanding state. However, Minnesota needs to greatly increase its efficiency in order to be cost-competitive. One of the reasons why I am lukewarm on Michael Porter is that he does not sufficiently recognize the long-standing empirically validated fact that over the very long term, cost effectiveness trumps many other favorable aspects. The more cost-efficient countries and states can afford to add important differentiating characteristics that enable them to be BOTH attractive and cost-competitive. I like Minnesota, but it is NOT an efficient, well-run state. It has slipping schools, too many mediocre colleges, complicated welfare and permitting systems, and one of the most amateurish economic development functions of any state.

Marianne Curry (na) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na) (na)

Finally, a positive message about MN economy!! It strikes me that the media’s focus on negative news and editorials becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And yes, the state government’s job is to ensure a high quality education for tomorrow’s workers, citizenship, and infrastructure development. We have much to celebrate with our industrious labor force. Now minimum wage must be addressed to mitigate the growing disparities between low- and high-income groups. That change alone would boost the pass-throughs in our economy.

 

    

The Civic Caucus   is a non-partisan, tax-exempt educational organization.   The Core participants include persons of varying political persuasions,
reflecting years of leadership in politics and business. Click here  to see a short personal background of each.

   David Broden,  Janis Clay,  Bill Frenzel,  Paul Gilje,   Jan Hively,  Dan Loritz (Chair),  Marina Lyon,  Joe Mansky, 
Tim McDonald,  John Mooty,  Jim Olson,  Wayne Popham  and Bob White


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