Tomorrow's column today | Arkansas Blog

Monday, March 19, 2007

Tomorrow's column today

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2007 at 7:57 PM

And speaking of Brummett, here's his Tuesday column on the plan, backed by Gov. Beebe and sponsored by Death Star Bob Johnson, to create a state-financed venture capital fund to encourage high-tech jobs. Brummett likes it. The aims seem noble.

I'll need convincing. I don't happen to think capital and ideas are respecters of boundaries. I think good ideas find capital and it moves from the well-stocked coffers of investment firms all over to worthy ideas, no matter where they are located. I think when the state gets into the investment business it will almost certainly begin on the margins with ideas and operators that couldn't sell the free market on their viability. Plenty of accomplished businessmen think otherwise, I suppose. And it's true that smart businessmen are more than happy to let government share the risk, or even reduce their overhead, with direct grants. So we will see. Clip this and I'll eat it when we become the next Research Triangle.

I'd still rather invest in top quality schools, top quality colleges and universities, and provide the things -- good environment, cultural amenities, welcoming arms to diverse people -- that attract the kind of people who start Googles and Yahoos and such. Make this a place conducive to dreamers with a welcoming environment and a work force to serve them. This new legislation is the same old thing wrapped up in a fancy new package. Give away enough money and they will come. And if they do come, what's to stop the successful ones from moving to some place more exciting and, by the way, a little friendlier to science?

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