The Metropolitan Revolution

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-06-11
  • Publisher: Brookings Inst Pr

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The United States must remake its economy if it is to achieve sustainable prosperity in a world that continues to transform at a dizzying pace. Americans must move from an economy driven by domestic consumption, debt, and financial engineering to one that is driven by exports, powered by cleaner energy, fueled by innovation, and rich in opportunity. Movement toward such an economy, in the view of Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley, must be led by metropolitan areas. The Metropolitan Momentdetails the importance of specific attributes to America's next economy, with a chapter devoted to each. For example, as wealth increases in nations such as China, India, and Brazil, greater U.S. emphasis on exports would capitalize on rising global demand. Aggressive investment in, and movement toward, a low-carbon economy will present new opportunities for the energy sector and the industries that feed it, as well as improving the health and quality of life for residents. Greater innovation in other areas as well must be pursued, supported, and sustained if we hope to see real growth in the long term. Taken together, these developments will help increase economic opportunity for all, reversing the long trend of increased inequality that can dispirit and even destabilize a society. The final section explores the unfortunate disjunction between the economic power of metropolitan areas and their legal powerlessness. Despite their obvious importance, they technically do not even exist in state law. Katz and Bradley explain how states can help build the foundation of the new economy, and a big part of that is adequately supporting their metropolitan economic engines. They also explain the federal government's role in this transformation --what it can do to help, and what it should not do. Katz and Bradley call for a view of the United States based on reality, not nostalgia. The "real America" is not the romantic small-town version of days gone by. Rather, it is a complicated, multi-ethnic, globally connected metropolitan America that will power its citizens through the 21st century. The sooner America realizes what it really is, the sooner it can begin rebuilding itself.

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