Traditionally, we take a nationalist view of our economy. Our politics and economics are wedded in the political economy of the nation state and the nationalist economic policies. This “nationalist paradigm” is, however, showing signs of fatigue: The role of the nation state is diminishing as the economy globalizes; our national accounting systems are less effective, technology forces change; trading blocs are emerging; there is less control of exchange rates; regional economies are restructuring; and competitive environments are changing. This book poses that political jurisdictions are not economies but polities, and explores the complex and important economic implications of this thesis. In reality, metropolitan-centered economic regions are the basic economic units and the building blocks of the U.S. economy. The linked, interdependent system of local economic regions form the U.S. Common Market, which in turn thrives within a global context of mutuality and interdependence. William R. Barnes and Larry C. Ledebur's paradigm shift from the “nation as the economy” to the “national system of local economic regions” changes the framework in which we think about governance and policy and puts this book at the forefront of U.S. economic thought.

Introduction and Overview

Introduction and overview

The pervasive image of a single “U.S. economy” contained within the nation's geographic borders is the lens that currently focuses public policy in the United States. It provides the rationale for the prevailing national orientation of economic policies.

Political jurisdictions, however, are polities, not economies. These include nations, states, and local governmental jurisdictions. The implications of this simple observation are complex and far-reaching.

Local economies—primarily metropolitan-centered and strongly linked—are the real economies in the United States. The boundaries of the nation create within them a national common market of these local economies, most of which are also linked to economies abroad.

Therefore, the conventional view of the nation as an economic unit without important internal differentiation must be put aside. It is not ...

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