Florida on Post-Crisis Economic Geography

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3 Responses

  1. Christa says:

    The homeownership part of the American dream is difficult to get over. But I think that good public transportation and increased use of remote communication (like videoconferencing, etc.) might make it practical for at least those who can afford homes to own them and those who can’t to rent them.

    I just love the idea of renting recently foreclosed homes to the previous owners in markets like this one. That way, at least they don’t stay empty.

  2. A.J. Sutter says:

    I was struck by the article’s reference to an economy pumped by “generating and transporting ideas.” A recent book by the French sociologist Alain Gras (Le choix du feu (2007)) points out one form of disurption created by the switch to fossil fuels during the 19th Century: energy sources had to be extracted and transported to the places of consumption, instead of being consumed in situ. In contrast, wind and water power, use persisted long into the industrial revolution, are consumed where they are generated. For Gras, the shift to fossil fuels was a kind of historical accident, not an inevitability; but it’s one that has resulted in undesirable and unforeseen consequences. I wonder if this might not be a kind of cautionary tale regarding the position urged by Florida. (And BTW, it takes physical energy sources to generate and transport ideas, too.)

    A related concern is agriculture. Some people dismiss it as accounting for a decreasing percentage of GDP, but without it the rest of the GDP would be zero. If every country depopulated its agricultural regions in favor of increased urbanization, as celebrated by Florida, the world would become even more committed to the curent models of agribusiness/economies of scale, and globalized production of foods; but these in turn create a slew of other problems (hunger and inequality in less developed countries, vulnerability of monocultures to disease, etc.). Excessive dependence on imported food is a hot issue here in Japan; is it worth continuing that trend, for the sake of Tokyo’s being a more competitive financial center? In any case, even if Florida’s policies lead to increased food imports by the US alone, that’s sufficient to exacerbate many of these problems in developing countries.

    In short, even assuming that Florida’s solutions are good for the US, they might not be so salutary globally. My gut feeling is that Florida is too stuck in the “bigger is better” mentality that also led to the current financial crisis, the CO2 climate change predicament, and perhaps other unforeseen and unpleasant consequences to come.

  3. A.J. Sutter says:

    PS: “disruption” of course, not “disurption”.