We can relate

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Resources are always limited – even when we think that they are not. Time. Money. The bounty of nature. Each is consumed and renewed, even if it returns in a form we don’t like as much, in its own time. It is not like this truism is any big insight. But one is reminded from time to time that we don’t really know how close we are to exhausting a resource until it is nearly gone. For me, this simple fact reasserted itself in listening to a lecture on the history of Hamilton County. Decades ago, we experienced a natural gas boom. Factories formed and towns like Atlanta and others, now largely lost to history, burgeoned. At the time, the gas flowed from the ground in a seemingly endless stream. There was so much, in fact, that we would burn it off into the night sky for our own amusement.

We all know the rest of the story. The boom soon turned to bust. Businesses died and folks packed up and moved on to the next town. These stories are common enough but happen so often that the lesson is lost in cliché. If we’re smart, we take note and think about allocation of these resources. Today I am in Germany with the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce representing Legacy Fund in the exchange delegation. As the meetings roll on, we learn about ports and big manufacturers. But can the expense in time and dollars justify the trip? Will I need to ship Ford Fiestas en masse from central Germany any time soon? Probably not. Am I spending time with a hundred or so engaged and talented people from Central Indiana? Definitely so. Trade missions pay a dividend – sometimes in cash but always in capital of the intellectual variety.


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