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Grand Rapids receives praise once again for being a hotbed for budding capitalists

January 17, 2019

Grand Rapids is a city made up of all kinds of people. Yet, the only people who really seem to matter are those that already have power and wealth.

For example, there was a recent article on Inc. entitled, Why Grand Rapids is one of the Fastest Growing Cities in America and a Hotbed for Entrepreneurs

However, unlike most stories that praise Grand Rapids, this one was written by someone who lives here. Jeff Barrett, CEO of Barrett Digital and the creator of Status Creative, the guy who (with Rob Bliss) created the awful GR Lipdub in 2011, writes about how great Grand Rapids is and gives us three reasons why.

First, Barrett tells us that Grand Rapids tackles big ideas. By big ideas he doesn’t mean how to confront climate change or how to improve public health or how to end poverty. The Big Ideas he is referring to are embodied in two companies – Steelcase and Founders Brewing. Steelcase tackled the big idea of evolving into a business that does consulting and makes office furniture. And the craft company Founders just surpassed Bell in terms of production. Wow, these really aren’t big ideas, they are just examples of businesses making more profits.

Second, Barrett tells us that Grand Rapids isn’t afraid to fail. To prove it, the PR guru refers to what cool stuff the DeVos family is up to (Amway is a client of Barrett’s), how Grand Rapids is becoming a fabulous tourist destination, how the Right Place Inc. is creating more public/private business projects and how the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce looks like a Capital One Cafe. Damn, now these really aren’t big ideas, these are just a way to acknowledge that the Grand Rapids Power Structure is continuing to kickass at the expense of thousands of residents who are struggling to survive. 

Third, Barrett tells us that Generations of philanthropists continue to elevate this city. Of course, by philanthropists, Barrett means DeVos and Secchia, which are the only two philanthropists he cites, along with Spectrum Health, which is essentially another DeVos project.

So two of the three Big Ideas that Grand Rapids is tackling are being led by the DeVos family and everything else is about the power of the market and how they are giving us better furniture makers and craft beer companies.

Jeff Barrett’s article for Inc. is nothing but a self-serving fluff piece that completely ignores most of the 200,000 other people who live here, because they just simply aren’t relevant unless the Jeff Barrett’s of the world tell us about them.

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