In the past, natural resources drove local economic prosperity. Economies thrived where soil was fertile, timber and minerals were abundant, and where transportation by water was easy (e.g., at the confluence of rivers or at natural ports). Today, knowledge matters more. Natural resources and access to markets still matter, but many industries and occupations are increasingly concentrated in a few places where skilled, creative workers are abundant. This program examines what these changes might mean for Montana’s economy. Can Montana — particularly its entrepreneurs – figure out how to develop a more robust “knowledge” economy – an economy that allows more of Montana’s young, creative, and ambitious people to remain in Montana?
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Rob Van Driest