Rusty’s Fix for the Economy

First, go read this blog on The Daily Beast about the Disney Philosophy and how it could help create jobs and turn the economy around.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait…

man, you read real slow

Now, what was missing?

I’ll tell you: concrete ideas.

So why don’t we do this?  Let’s look at Walt Disney World and Disneyland and see how they make magic that is profitable and that will create jobs — and let’s do that across the country.

I only have a few ideas, so I’m depending on you to send me new ones.  And better ones.

1.  Create MANY new venues of home entertainment.

Every media conglomerate in the country can do this — but they’re not.

In every depression and recession, people will gladly buy food and necessities, but not many luxury items…unless it’s pure entertainment — entertainment that gets their minds off how bad it all is.

The pulps and comics flourished in the depression and during World War II.  It was the golden age of cinema, and for good reason — they kept churning them out, no matter ROI or profit margin.  People needed to be entertained for a few hours in order to forget the poverty of their lives.

Create new cable channels.  Make low-budget movies that the masses will enjoy.  Really, if SyFy can make Sharktopus movies that people will actually watch, why can’t every media conglomerate start making more shows, more cable channels, more films, more plays, more books, that will not only create perhaps thousands of more jobs, but bring in revenue for everyone?

It takes money to make money.

2.  Create new venues of mass entertainment.

What if every major city had an area that was a mini-Las Vegas?  Not necessarily incorporating the gambling aspect, but an entertainment/recreational district lodged philosophically somewhere between Vegas and the French Quarter?  A Disney’s Pleasure Island-like area — where grown-ups could go to movies, hit a bunch of niche nightclubs, restaurants and bars, shops, music halls and theatres.

Planning.  Construction.  Service and retail.  Hotels.  Jobs and revenue.

3.  Create tourism destinations.

Look to Hay-on-Wye for this inspiration.  One man had the idea to create a Booktown — a single town where people all over the world could come and find used books — perhaps books they had been seeking for years.

Used books are a resource that are found cheaply and sold, in the cheapest cases, for perhaps 300% their cost.

Why aren’t American towns, located off interstates on the way to Florida, on the way to D.C., New York, L.A., Houston, taking advantage of their locations to become a destination, instead of a rest stop?  One town could encourage the growth of bookstores.  Another could concentrate on antiques.  Another could concentrate on art — imagine a place where there’s an art show every weekend.

Stores will be created, restaurants started, gas stations built.  All of that means Planning.  Construction.  Service and retail.  Hotels.  Jobs and revenue..

4.  Theme your potential profit areas.

Take old downtown areas and theme them accordingly.  Creative landscaping and traffic flow is what the current wave of outdoor Town Centres is all about.  Why aren’t our small towns considering #3 above and theming their walking/retail districts accordingly, with consumers in mind?

Make your town a destination — not a drive-thru.

Landscaping jobs will be created initially, leading to new retail venues, job growth, and long-term revenue.

5.  Create a lineup of festivals and concerts all year long.

Make sure you have a draw to your region where people will be entertained, as well as willingly spending their money on food and retail.

The Innsbrook area here in Richmond benefits every summer from a mid-week series of concerts.  People come to the West End/Innsbrook area, some eat, then go to the concert, eat and drink there, then drive out and continue partying at the closest restaurants and bars.

Create places that people want to visit.  It creates jobs, it brings customers and revenue, and consumers will want to come next time.  The value of Top of Mind Awareness is inestimable.


Your turn.  Send me your ideas.  Lets talk.

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5 thoughts on “Rusty’s Fix for the Economy

  1. And how about this idea to get the ball rolling? I know it will be called politically incorrect and insensitive by some, but we have a huge number of chronically unemployed people in our county right now; either by accident or by design. Regardless, they are being paid and no one is getting ROI. Let's start building dreams and destination spots by putting people to work. No politician will even talk about this.
    Most people want to work. They want to contribute to society. If they are given meaningful work, they will become proud and empowered.
    During the Great Depression, people worked on projects that beautified our communities and supported the infrastructure.
    PC be damned. It's time to stand our country right side up again.

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  2. I'm not sure what isn't PC about getting people to work, unless you're calling for the end of welfare programs. That's just unrealistic — and it's hurtful to the millions who have lost their jobs due to the economy. (I know from experience — I was one of them for seven months — that without unemployment benefits, my family would have suffered greatly. It wasn't great even with benefits, but we survived.)

    Maybe in some future American utopia, people will work because they want to, and because what they do makes them feel good and become better people; but today, face it — we're all pretty much doing it for the money.

    So, YES, let's create projects that will hire millions. Let's put America to work. Money will circulate and the economy, theoretically, will be stimulated. But we can't let our American families be hurt when someone loses a job. We have to help them survive and get back on their feet. It's the humane, American thing to do.

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  3. Rustman, you are stuck on entertaining the masses. Maybe drug them up and they won't bother you (oh, that's already happening), but if you ain't got no cash, you won't go anywhere for anything. People stay home now and are already entertained to dumbness.
    Take the unemployed and put them to work on the infrastructure. If the power grid goes out, watch the revolution from your porch.
    From the education reports, newbies can't read and only want to text LOL. Everyone is flooded with entertainment.
    Let's get serious. I need food, so I need money, or I need work and will do ANYTHING. Stop the benefits and get to the basic needs before the riots start.

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  4. Rus' model does work, if the time and place and idea are right: the Carter Family Fold near Floyd, VA; Inner Harbor in Baltimore, Branson (heaven help us) and the Nashville and Austin scenes, and (just shoot me!) the Mall of America — something for every taste.
    Disney had talent and money in quantities that were similar to the Manhattan Project.
    Despite tons of revisionist spite, in the Thirties and Forties the CCC, NRA (not the gun one), the GI Bill and the Marshall Plan (Marshall was a conservative we can all be proud of) gave an outstanding ROI.

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