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.

Afterword: The Challenge and the Opportunity

Afterword: The challenge and the opportunity

The preceding chapters have argued the following points for a better framework for thinking about and acting on economics and political economy:

  • Local economic regions are the real economies—the basic, functional economic units.
  • These metropolitan-centered, regional economies are the building blocks of the three-tiered economic system—regional, national, and global. No part of this system is autonomous; linkages and interdependence pervade the networks.
  • Political and economic boundaries are not congruent. The conventional nationalist assumption that they are is incorrect and results in flawed policy.
  • Political economies thus face the dual challenges of nurturing the economic commons for each of the three tiers and balancing the demands of each against the others.

These and related ideas no longer can be ...

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