Moretti is a Cal Berkeley economist who studies the ways that labor markets develop (and move) across different geographical regions. The New Geography of Jobs is loaded with economic breakdowns of the forces that have caused American cities to either prosper or falter economically.
- Moretti is way smarter than I am, and is very comfortable with the macro-economic analyses that have a lot to say about the ways in which American labor markets move and grow. His holistic overviews make sense, and at a very high level his analysis says a lot about the ways that some communities have continued to attract talent.
- His emphasis on the power of innovation makes sense, especially as currently configured our economy cannot compete with cheaper manufacturing costs. He also makes a point of showing how these sorts of innovation industries (not his phrase, and not a great one) can support a lot of other folks, especially those who are not necessarily innovative themselves.
- He also speaks convincingly about how difficult making the transition for other cities might be – Detroit and Cleveland, for instance, might struggle with developing economies around innovation.
- I struggled throughout this though with the sense that he was making this all sound too easy. That’s not fair – he’s not working with details – but macroeconomic analyses to me often seem so bloodless…
- I am also not sure what to do about rural areas in this configuration. These tend to get relegated to resource extraction/farming areas anyway, and innovation definitely removes jobs.
- Discussions about this sort of look at the future seems especially odd when they do not odd take a larger look at how we pay for things. I struggled trying not to read this discussion through a very specific lens – guaranteed wage, keeping people interested and motivated, and so on…