JENGA: Playing Games With The Local Economy
Have you ever played the game JENGA? It’s a fun-yet-terrifying game, the one with the small rectangular blocks of wood that are stacked in perpendicular rows to create a large tower while your job is to take turns at removing blocks from the lower tower in order to stack them on top to create an even taller tower. Of course, the fun (stress) of the game comes from knowing that you can only build a tower so tall before it all comes tumbling down in a deafening and messy crash on the dining room table.
The moral of the story is, the local economy is a lot like JENGA. It’s human nature to always want things BIGGER and BETTER! The problem though is that, by removing blocks from the lower structure, we are eating away at the foundation of our communities. Sure, we can put another new Target, Amazon, or Home Depot at the top of our local towers, but – at what cost? What is left in our community’s foundation but a wobbly lattice ladder? Will we be left with one WalMart sitting atop the rubble of unique independent local businesses?
My point is simply this: There are only so many consumers in a town looking for (and able to consume) so many products and services. As we continue to choose which businesses our communities just can’t live without, I just ask that we all give a little thought to which critical pieces of the framework of our own towns might have to be removed in order to make room. Character, independence, community, diversity, innovation – these are all building blocks that our cities can’t be without.
Let’s keep communities on a solid foundation! (By not pulling bricks out from underneath those who make the communities strong (and unique) to begin with!)