Experts Explain 'New Economy'

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Rim country businesses may miss the boat if they don't launch quickly into the sea of the "new economy" the topic of discussion at a Thursday morning meeting co-sponsored by the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation.

The new economy refers to Internet-based businesses, also known as e-business.

The two guest speakers at the breakfast meeting emphasized the realities of a technology-driven global economic environment that requires changes in traditional ways of doing business.

"The future is already here. It's just not very evenly distributed," said Mary Jo Waits, associate director of the Morris Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University.

An important first step for communities like the Rim country is to apply for grants available from the state to conduct a community assessment, according to Brad Tritle, telecommunications development manager for the state's Government Information Technology Agency.

Through the Arizona Partnership for the New Economy, a program initiated by Gov. Jane Hull to increase the state's competitiveness, 50 grants of $20,000 each are available to community's to have telecommunication assessments conducted. Because the current downturn in the economy could limit those funds, Tritle advised fast action by community leaders.

Waits identified eight characteristics of the new economy, including technology, globalism, relentless competition, and the importance of research, discovery and innovation.

"The first 100 years of our country's history were about who could build the biggest, most efficient farm. The second 100 years were about the race to build efficient factories. The third 100 years are about ideas," she said.

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