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.

The Internal Interdependence of Regions

The internal interdependence of regions

Chapter 3 marshaled evidence that the nationalist economic view does not adequately explain economic reality in the United States. There are strong indications that distinct, metropolitan-centered regional economies exist in the United States and, therefore, that national average indicators of economic performance mask important differences in the performance of these regional economies.

There is also evidence of an internal economic coherence and interdependence within each of these local economic regions. This chapter and Chapter 5 push this line of argument forward.

The essential coherence of the local economic area is too often obscured in public and scholarly discussion by a focus on the relationship (or lack of relationship) between central cities and their suburbs. Locked in a debate ...

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