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posted by King Minos in Money / Career

Forecast of Athens' Growth Prospects

November 11, 2012

The influx of retirees and pensioners from colder, more taxed climes will probably far outpace the numbers of folks looking for Silicon Valley on the Oconee. The will to create "success" in Athens is not new or unique; nor are locals still overcome with "joy" but cautiously knowledgeable about the real limitations and perils of the local economy.

Simply put, Athens policy-makers have not had the pull to develop adequate local infrastructure (limited access link to a major interstate, or train) to enable Athens to experience significant growth; and the other half of the policy-makers pursue agendas that undermine or actually seek to limit or stop local growth*.

*Anti-growth sentiments come from concern about development of green space and challenges to resources such as water; seniors, retirees, and those who graduated from the "rat race" and are living on pensions or savings, too, are likely to oppose growth or change. As the census of retirees and those on fixed incomes increases, concern for significant local growth remains confined to that of a service economy (restaurants; cleaners; hospitals; etc.) serving, again, the needs of those with some of the few good jobs, or living on savings, and retirement pay;

STILL, U.GA. does provide some competent graduates who are "exported" to successful markets to show their stuff; but market opportunities and the potential for growth both in the Athens economy and even in the local population remain very limited; check the relatively 'slow' population growth of Athens v. say, Gwinnett county over the past three decades.

THEN, development of adequate infrastructure that helped Athens to attract the "large employers" could indeed undergird small-scale local entrepreneurial start-ups; as is, the best and brightest must "get out" or suffer a fate they do not deserve. The only way to retain this creative class is to have enough "living wage" jobs to keep them here.

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