Economics tells tale

To the Journal editor:

I am one of a number of folks who attended some of the Kennecott/Rio Tinto public meetings that were held in Marquette and Baraga counties.

We were told that the company was in the area for the long haul. We were told that they wanted the public to evaluate whether they were meeting our expectations. We were told that they wanted to have programs to “leave something on the woodpile” after they left, such as by providing programs for helping small business startups.

Basically, we were told that they not only were to be providing jobs, but actually cared about this area and its people.

Now that the company is moving out, what we were told rings rather hollow. Their interest in the Upper Peninsula was clearly secondary to the economic interests of their corporate executives and stockholders.

Should this be a surprise? Should it be a surprise that a major multinational corporation doesn’t really care all that much about the area and the people where it plans to develop a mine?

Such is the nature of large corporations in general, and of mining companies in particular. Modern mines such as the Eagle Mine are transitory features, with short life spans. Unlike the native copper and iron mines many of us are used to, operators of these new mines will not likely make much of an investment in the area where they plan to open mines.

They will come and go, moving to new sites where greater corporate profits seem more likely. And we will pay the price for that corporate behavior, in terms of an unpredictable economic future.

Clearly investing our economic energies in a more diverse economy seems a better choice, rather than depending on untrustable and unpredictable big corporations to be our economic saviors.

Doug Welker