Diagnose first, operate later.

As I’m watching some recent local development news unfold, I’m once again led to asking the question ‘is there really a benefit here?’

In many rural cities across the country, the basic principle of economics- that scarcity exists- is painfully apparent. We, in these areas, have to use our limited resources wisely.

And yet often we see big expenditures on big projects with little understanding of anything beyond the first-degree impacts, if that. Without doing a thorough checkup, how can we treat unfavorable conditions with any effectiveness? How can we know what’s really going on and what really needs to be fixed? How can we get the best bang for our limited bucks?

These situations are like a doctor treating a sinus headache with brain surgery- there’s no basic need, there’s very high risk, and there’s very little chance of fixing the problem. And in this case, the doctor could have asked some very simple questions to find out surgery wasn’t necessary.

So are we undertaking big, newsworthy projects to make ourselves stand out through impressive activity, or are we truly trying to make things better?

We ought to be doing a little diagnosing first.