Comments on economics, mystery fiction, drama, and art.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Economics of New York's Future

Ed Glaeser has a fascinating and (I think) largely correct take on what New York needs to do to restore both its economic vitality and its industrial diversity.  I added this comment:

I would add a consideration that is touched upon, but not elaborated. One reason for New York's (and Boston's, and Philadelphia's) diversity, historically, has been our openness to immigration, and to the fact that most immigrants arrive in major port cities. Over the first 200 years or so of our development as an economy, we welcomed immigrants, saw them as a resource, as an addition to our economy. And their arrival cities benefited from that openness.

One reason, I would argue, for the continuing diversity of new York's economy, then, was that steady stream of immigrants, who brought (and can continue to bring) new skills, new visions, and new energy to the city. And help prevent an over-concentration of economic activity in a single sector.

My own professional life has, for the past 25 years, been spend in one of the classic single-industry cities in the U.S.--Gary, IN. It has certainly suffered from the lack of economic/industrial diversity of which Dr. Glaser writes. But that lack of diversity is itself a result, not the ultimate cause, of other forces.


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