Sunday, March 29, 2009

The U.S. Economy Does Not Exist

So says the headline on this short snippet describing a study that claims,

The United States is not a single unified economy nor even a breakdown of 50 state economies. Instead, the country's 100 largest metropolitan regions are the real drivers of economic activity, generating two-thirds of the nation's jobs and three-quarters of its output. The sooner we reorient federal economic policies to support this "MetroNation," the quicker we can fix the mess we're in.

It's an intriguing idea, and one that actually makes sense. Chicago, for instance, would be the world's 18th largest economy if it were a country, right after Turkey and before Sweden. And with the economic climate the way it is, there is little doubt that the 'crisis' will affect different metropolitan areas in varying ways.

Richard Florida examined this idea in a fascinating article called How the Crash Will Reshape America. He observes,
The crash of 2008 continues to reverberate loudly nationwide—destroying jobs, bankrupting businesses, and displacing homeowners. But already, it has damaged some places much more severely than others. On the other side of the crisis, America’s economic landscape will look very different than it does today. What fate will the coming years hold for New York, Charlotte, Detroit, Las Vegas? Will the suburbs be ineffably changed? Which cities and regions can come back strong? And which will never come back at all?


Chairman said...

A lot of the regional economy view that's discussed in the Florida article makes sense, if you apply a very laissez-faire stance. However, do you really believe that this administration would ever let that happen? And even beyond that, the way our Congress is set up would seem to make the case moot.

And in any case, unless you're in a penal league, I don't know if adding "Joilet" to your team name will help.

Westy said...

I think it's already begun to happen:
Detroit's decline

Chairman said...

The Detroit issue is more of letting something die that was already dying. But the Florida article was getting at a lot more than that, wasn't it?

I suppose that my initial reaction is that to have the corresponding changes in how we do economic policy, we'd need parallel changes to political policy. I mean, you probably get rid of the electoral college and the Senate, for starters...