The U.S. Needs to Look Inward to Solve Its Economy


Over the past months as the global economy heads for another recession, U.S. lawmakers have done their best to deflect blame by focusing on various external forces including the most popular straw-man of the day: China’s currency.

Almost every year for the last few years, Congress and the White House have pressed China to revalue its currency, the renminbi. And every time this happens, China responds that it will do what it always does: let it appreciate gradually, at about 5% per year as it has done for the last several years.  read more »

New Geography's Most Popular Stories of 2011


As our third full calendar year at New Geography comes to a close, here’s a look at the ten most popular stories in 2011. It’s been another year of steady growth in readership and reach for the site.  Thanks for reading and happy new year.  read more »

The Driving Decline: Not a "Sea Change"


The latest figures from the United States Department of Transportation indicate that driving volumes remain depressed. In the 12 months ended in September 2011, driving was 1.1 percent below the same  period five years ago. Since 2006, the year that employment peaked, driving has remained fairly steady, rising in two years (the peak was 2007) and falling in three years. At the same time, the population has grown by approximately four percent. As a result, the driving per household has fallen by approximately five percent.  read more »

Suppressing the News: The Real Cost of the Wall Street Bailout


No one really knows what a politician will do once elected. George “No New Taxes” Bush (George I to us commoners) was neither the first nor will he be the last politician to lie to the public in order to get elected.  It takes increasing amounts of money to get elected. Total spending by Presidential candidates in 1988 was $210.7 million; in 2000 it was $343.1 million and in 2008, presidential candidates spent $1.3 billion.  read more »

Rethinking College Towns


As a practitioner in both consulting and local government, I have observed that in local communities nothing seems to prompt productive action better than a local crisis or strongly felt threat like a factory closure. 

Unfortunately, we are often inclined to take action to close the barn door only after the horse has escaped.  read more »

The Robotics Census


Immigration is a concern for countries around the world, not just the U.S. It’s that annoying tendency of humans to gravitate toward an area where they can survive as opposed to staying where they are barely surviving or worse.  Once there, of course, these workers are seen often as taking jobs, altering local cultures and in general upsetting lots of apple carts.    read more »

Iowa: Not Just the Elderly Waiting to Die


Stephen Bloom, a journalism professor at the University of Iowa, created quite a stir in Iowa this week with a piece in The Atlantic describing his unique observations on rural Iowa as evidence that it doesn’t deserve its decidedly powerful hand in the vote for the president. After the article appeared last Friday both his colleagues and the massive student body of the state he so harshly criticizes are returning the favor.  read more »

Heavy Metal Is Back: The Best Cities For Industrial Manufacturing


For a generation American manufacturing has been widely seen as a “declining sport.” Yet its demise has been largely overplayed.  Despite the many jobs this sector has lost in the past generation, manufacturing remains remarkably resilient, with a global market share similar to that of the 1970s.  read more »

Let’s Level the Inter-generational Playing Field


With President Obama’s speech in Osawatomie, Kansas decrying the growing economic inequality and lack of upward mobility in America, the issue has finally arrived at the center of this year’s campaign debates.  read more »

Wanted: Blue-Collar Workers


To many, America’s industrial heartland may look like a place mired in the economic past—a place that, outcompeted by manufacturing countries around the world, has too little work to offer its residents. But things look very different to Karen Wright, the CEO of Ariel Corporation in Mount Vernon, Ohio. Wright’s biggest problem isn’t a lack of work; it’s a lack of skilled workers. “We have a very skilled workforce, but they are getting older,” says Wright, who employs 1,200 people at three Ohio factories.  read more »