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.

Business Cycles and Local Economies

Business cycles and local economies

Economic theory and federal policy appear to assume (a) that there is a single national economy, (b) that there are uniform regional responses to federal macroeconomic policies, and (c) that variations in regional business cycles and their responses to national policies are not the concern of national policy and can safely be ignored. Policies targeted to regions or industries are dismissed as “structural” and considered by “mainstream” economists not to be an appropriate means of promoting cyclical stabilization.

If there is a single national economy, however, and if regions respond uniformly to federal macroeconomic policies, then the business cycles experienced by regions should conform to the pattern of the national business cycle and, hence, to one another. ...

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