Policy briefing highlights Arizona’s road to economic recovery
The Great Depression took its toll on Arizona as the state’s first real economy, based on cotton, cattle, copper, citrus and climate – affectionately known as “the 5C's” – collapsed. But Arizona rebounded, building a new economy and becoming one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing states in the nation. Can Arizona do it again?
The Road to Recovery: Lessons from Arizona First Economy, a new report by the Morrison Institute for Public Policy, steps through this lesson in economic history. Looking ahead with an awareness of the legacy of the 5C's, the report suggests informed leaders can set Arizona’s course out of recession and into a prosperous next century.
In a brief and thoughtful reflection on Arizona’s economic history, this new eight-page report offers insight into how the 5C's captured the essence and identity of Arizona’s workers and, by extension, the state’s economic identity. The report outlines examples of how elements of the nostalgic 5C's live on today – from how the state uses natural resources as economic assets to how we shape public policy on water to how Arizona is tied to a boom-and-bust cycle.
The report offers a compelling look at the rise of housing after WWII to the collapse of the real-estate market in the 1980s. The report also traces the impacts and role of the private sector in which our economy has been shaped and shifted by business people, educators, elected officials and economic developers and how they should apply the latest research to familiar questions: What is Arizona good at now? What economies are emerging? How can Arizona be an economic leader? How can Arizona take early technology industry that emerged in the 1960s and evolved into today’s biosciences, solar and other green industries to the next level?
More than a history lesson, The Road to Recovery suggests that the ups and downs of efforts in the past 20 years have shown that both vision and day-to-day attention and resources are vital for economic recovery. And it poses the question: What new economic identity – with 5C's’ resiliency – will represent a broad cross-section of Arizonans in human capital, research and development, business climate, venture capital, global leadership and sustainability?