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 Regional Economic Commons

The regional economic commons

Debate about the relationships of cities and suburbs has too often degenerated into an unproductive “either/or” controversy serving narrow political and social interests. Much of metropolitan politics and public discourse are at an apparent dead end on this issue.

Current infatuation with the image of economic autonomy and fragmentation has bolstered claims of suburban economic, social, and cultural independence from their greater regions. Such claims echo those of an earlier age and very different circumstances of the “independence” of central cities from their regions and, hence, their suburbs. Both views, current and past, deny the commonality and economic interdependence of jurisdictions within the economic region. Each is dangerously incorrect.

Cities and suburbs are political jurisdictions astride a single regional economy. ...

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