Odds and Ends
Everything is possible when you don't believe
27 10, 1:34am
I can agree with nearly everything you just said.
However, locals do think about money flowing in, or out, of a community. It's the basic reason why Wal-Marts typically have a chilly reception when they move into an area. It's why you see signs saying "shop <location> first" outside locally owned businesses. At least in small towns and rural communities, that flow of money is felt. Maybe we shouldn't have to worry about it. In a diverse enough local economy, maybe we'd not notice such a tiny change as a single industry shuttering its doors, or suffering some production slump or cut back.
I can tell you that when we have a drought, everyone is praying for rain, including the people who only ever see the fields out their car windows. Farming is central enough to our local economy that every person who pulls a paycheck feels the pinch when farming suffers.
(Incidentally, my area is big on wheat, cotton, and beef. There's a reasonable chance that something you've eaten or worn within the last week originated from a commodity either raised or grown within 100 miles of me. I'm inclined to say a good chance, and within the last day, but I don't know if any of those are exported to Sweden, or not.)
You're right that a properly developed business incubator would be superior to a single major local industry, especially a single industry owned or controlled by a small group and with high barriers to either entry or profitability. I am hopeful that micro-manufacturing may some day make all towns into boutique manufacturing towns.