Down on the Farm

2007 was a good year for rural America. Driven by "bumper crops, strong demand, and high prices" in commodity markets, farmers across the United States enjoyed an "exceptional year". Strong conditions continued into the first half of 2008, spurring farmers to increase "purchases of capital equipment and household consumption," and fueling "double-digit percentage gains in cropland values," in many areas of the nation.  read more »

Geography of the US Auto Manufacturing Industry

Talk of bailing out US automakers has dominated the news recently, and we all know that means Michigan. Michigan is home to roughly a quarter of the country's auto manufacturing jobs, and the industry is in rapid decline there and in Ohio, but the state of automaking employment in the rest of the country may surprise you.  read more »

New York's Decentralized Economy?

Even before the Wall Street meltdown, the New York area was going through its own de-clustering. No it hasn't - and probably never will - become a multi polar area in the style of Los Angeles, Houston or Phoenix, but the trend to deconcentrate jobs has been inexorable over the last thirty years, according to a new report by our friends at the Center for an Urban Future.

The report states:  read more »


In the Doldrums: Another Economic Indicator Heads South

Lost amidst headlines of bank nationalization, credit market woes, and a worldwide equities rout, was news that the Baltic Dry Index, an index seen as a measure of world trade flows and future economic activity, has been in freefall this week. A drop of 8% on Tuesday was bookended by drops of around 11% on both Monday and Wednesday.

According to the Guardian, the index is  read more »


What a Difference 1500 Miles Makes

After several days in New York, I encountered serious climate change — in terms of atmosphere — at a USA-Canada Summit in Grand Forks, ND. Sure people were concerned about the market meltdown, but the talk was all of new plans for expanding the economy across both sides of the border. The distressed martinis of Manhattan nights were gone in a place where drinks also came with good cheer.  read more »

Campaign Money and the House Bailout Vote

The late Jesse Unruh, longtime speaker of the California Assembly, was a giant of a man, both in accomplishment and girth. But he will be forever remembered for having said that “Money is the mother’s milk of politics”.  read more »

Heartland Development Bank - a New Vehicle for Growth

America, the world's most advanced continental nation, could be on the verge of a great resurgence, much of it based in regions largely unacknowledged by many pundits, academics and the media. What is needed now is an infrastructure strategy to make it happen.

So say New Geography contributors Delore Zimmerman and Joel Kotkin in recently released white paper proposing a new method of infrastructure financing for the heartland of America: a Heartland Development Bank.  read more »


Is the heartland the economic armpit of America?

Writing in the Wall Street Journal last week, native Kansan Thomas Frank isn't too complimentary on the state of affairs: will find that small-town America, this legendary place of honesty and sincerity and dignity, is not doing very well. If you drive west from Kansas City, Mo., you will find towns where Main Street is largely boarded up. You will see closed schools and hospitals. You will hear about depleted groundwater and massive depopulation.  read more »

Impending Doom for the Heartland?

The Financial Times recently made note of the biggest drop in commodity prices in 28 years. This, of course, is a fall from record highs and some analysts are continuing bullish forecasts. The Reuters/Jeffries CRB index has continued its decline the past few days  read more »


Homeless IT Worker in San Francisco

Yesterday, an article appeared in the SF Chronicle by C.W. Nevius about an Internet salesman who lives in a tent in Golden Gate Park because housing costs are too high. He works by day at a cafe and pitches his tent at night getting up before dawn when the police do raids to evict illegal campers.  read more »