Agricultural Economics Department


Date of this Version

May 2006

Document Type



Published in Cornhusker Economics, 05/17/2006. Produced by the Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


Think back to when you were on a playground as a child ... do you remember playing on a teeter totter? Ever try to find the balance point while the other person was on the opposite end? That took some skill! One slight move of the body by either you or your partner immediately set the board bouncing up and down. In Boomtown USA (2004), Jack Schultz uses the analogy of a teeter totter to illustrate his last key to big success in small towns. He describes it this way: It takes only a small shift one way or the other to make a negative or positive impact on a community. In other words, a little shift can turn a negative into a positive. The opposite, however, is equally true...thus, there is a precarious balance in small towns. (p. 111)