Uninformed rhetoric, insufficient data, and other factors have played a significant role in the failure of communities to move ahead. Flowery words cannot compete with quantifiable evidence that shows the impact of specific policy prescriptions on these communities. Measurably improving community indicators requires a new, business-like approach.
Fred Smith, the Billionaire founder of FedEx, said, “In sports, business, and the military, the only thing that counts is, at the end of the day, what the score is on the board.” It is hard to argue with numbers. Amazon’s entry into the package delivery business has adversely impacted its competitors. FedEx, by extension, has suffered because of Amazon’s entry into this market. Mr. Smith has focused his efforts on revitalizing his once-dominant company to compete against Amazon. It is impossible to predict whether this new-found focus will work.
What is Good for FedEx is Good for Communities
If FedEx experienced the negative consequences of a changing business landscape and technological disruptions, then communities that refuse to adapt will also experience disruptions. Social conditions like health, employment, crime, financial, and other disparities will expand if leaders fail to adopt a different gameplan. The expansion of already prominent gaps will be cataclysmic.
The FedEx model focuses on measuring everything. The company’s breakup with Amazon is likely to have caused its stock price to plummet. Still, executives believe that survival is contingent on moving aggressively into web fulfillment of products ordered from retailers like Target and Walmart. They counted the cost and examined the potential benefits, and decided that this would be a proper business strategy going forward. Community leaders have begun to apply similar strategies to improve the health and welfare of neighborhoods that have experienced social, environmental, and economic disruptions.
Indiana Senate District 3
African-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, and other groups experience debilitating health conditions that are brought on by a lack of wholesome resources and result in quantifiable health disparities. While ethnic and racial minorities face a discernible difference in health outcomes, others, including less educated, elderly, and other demographic groups, encounter similar inequality. These differences are the result of two significant factors. The first, and often most cited, is based on the availability or lack thereof, of related resources. Behavioral differences in each group account for the second cause of these variations.
We have begun a process that will help local community leaders, elected officials, and ordinary citizens better understand available resources in their communities. This comprehensive analysis can lead to a better allocation of resources to bring parity to different neighborhoods. Our initial effort involves Senate District 3 in the state of Indiana. Failure to measurably examine differences in resources will guarantee poor outcomes. The following study uses heat maps to distinguish areas with high concentrations of grocery stores, pharmacies, and traditional banking services compared with less endowed communities. This epidemiological study can help encourage communities, private sector partners, elected officials, and others, to more equitably distribute vitally needed resources.