Tuesday, November 16, 2004

What does New Jersey know
that we don't?

Why would New Jersey adopt the strongest regulations in the nation for controlling and reducing mercury and arsenic, standards much stronger than those proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency?

Won't that put New Jersey at a competitive disadvantage to other states, especially those in the anti-regulatory South and West? I think I know the answer. The smartest, most creative people in the world value a clean environment. (So do other people, but they don't always have the mobility to change their place of residence.) In the knowledge-based industries in which these creative types work, location can be influenced more by where people want to live than by physical resources or regulation. My brother lives in New Mexico and works for a computer software company in Florida that has employees who live there and in other places in the United States. Why is the company in Florida? Because the owner likes it there.

A state with a reputation for being a clean, healthy place to live may prosper by attracting the cutting edge entrepreneurs who need knowledge workers more than other inputs. Now, who's at a competitive disadvantage?

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