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.

Policy and Governance for the Regional Economic Commons

Policy and governance for the regional economic commons

The increasingly apparent relationships between local economies and the global marketplace spotlight the importance of the regional economic commons (REC). “Competitiveness” has provided, at once, a rationale and a motivation for tending the REC.1

The full range of economic policy challenges that RECs face is not captured by the competitiveness label in its usual usage. If the local economic region (LER) is the fundamental spatial unit of local, national, and global economics, then citizens must look to the REC for many crucial functions. Each REC will face the task of balancing the apparent requirements of global competition with other requirements of an effectively functioning political economy.

The success of the regional ...

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