“A timely and smart discussion of how different cities and regions have made a changing economy work for them – and how policymakers can learn from that to lift the circumstances of working Americans everywhere.”—Barack Obama
We’re used to thinking of the United States in opposing terms: red versus blue, haves versus have-nots. But today there are three Americas. At one extreme are the brain hubs—cities like San Francisco, Boston, and Durham—with workers who are among the most productive, creative, and best paid on the planet. At the other extreme are former manufacturing capitals, which are rapidly losing jobs and residents. The rest of America could go either way. For the past thirty years, the three Americas have been growing apart at an accelerating rate. This divergence is one the most important developments in the history of the United States and is reshaping the very fabric of our society, affecting all aspects of our lives, from health and education to family stability and political engagement. But the winners and losers aren’t necessarily who you’d expect.
Enrico Moretti’s groundbreaking research shows that you don’t have to be a scientist or an engineer to thrive in one of the brain hubs. Carpenters, taxi-drivers, teachers, nurses, and other local service jobs are created at a ratio of five-to-one in the brain hubs, raising salaries and standard of living for all. Dealing with this split—supporting growth in the hubs while arresting the decline elsewhere—is the challenge of the century, and The New Geography of Jobs lights the way.
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Like Thomas Friedman, the author attempts to tout the value of "innovation" as a bromide for the unemployed. The idea being that if you get that doctorate, the world is your oyster. Please, spare me! The trouble is that like Friedman, the author looks at some pretty stats and sites a few success stories while blithely ignoring the fact that many fine engineers and scientists are unemployed or stuck in post- doctoral sweatshops. Yes, there may be "jobs" out there, buty the don't pay a living salary for all but a lucky few.
This book reflects the trouble we have with journalism today. No one digs below the surface to get the whole story. All that would be needed is a day in a lab with some post-docs and these authors would have a different perspective.