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From: "Citiscope" <citiwire@citistates.com>
Subject: Neal Peirce on Center Stage Metro Regions, Bill Dodge on Why Nations Fail
Date: April 29th 2012

"Welcome to Citiwire.net! 'America's Metro Regions Take Center Stage' -- that's the bold assertion of a just-released report by our Citistates Group, featured in my column this week, offering eight reasons why. We've spent over a year analyzing the issue, assembling a quality panel of experts to debate it, and then preparing the report. Please check out my column, and then the full report, and use this site to submit your thoughts and comments! … Why are some nations and regions so 'extractive,' others more 'inclusive' and successful? That's the topic of Citistates Associate Bill Dodge's companion column."   -- Neal Peirce

Neal Peirce

Making the Case: America’s Regions on the Rise

By Neal Peirce

Why Nations (and Regions) Fail

By Bill Dodge

For Release Sunday, April 29, 2012
(c) 2012 Washington Post Writers Group

"America's Metro Regions Take Center Stage."

That's the title of a new report I've been working on with colleagues. And we know that some people will immediately retort:

"Metros? You can't be serious. How about Obama, Romney, congressional stalemate, the Tea Party, states in budget crisis -- and all the other news flavors of the moment?"

And our reply: Flying almost undetected under the news radar, America's metropolitan regions are becoming central to today's American story -- and future.


Our Citistates Group, enhanced by regional experts, convened at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund Pocantico estate along the Hudson River last October and agreed on eight top reasons.

First, economics now reign. Leaders in the regional pack -- New York, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas, the San Francisco Bay Area and others -- recognized early that the entire globe's their market. They moved ahead of the pack on trade; they attracted entrepreneurial immigrants; they focused on quality universities and attracting knowledge-based populations. As America's consumer economy sputters, smart export-oriented regions are now poised to prosper for the long run.

Second, there's "smart growth -- regions' new dollars and sense." The sprawl development patterns of recent decades now look like disasters, both for developers and buyers. Environmental conservation, compact growth, have become top goals for smart regions.

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For Release Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ask why nations succeed or fail and a group of likely suspects are offered. Natural resources are too scarce, human capital isn't developed, the geography is unfavorable (there's a long list of possible explanations). But there's another perhaps more critical factor, highlighted by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson in their provocative new book: Why Nations Fail (Crown Business, 2012). Nations fail, they argue, because of extractive economic and political institutions that cement the power of narrow elites -- as opposed to "inclusive" systems that centralize power to assure some degree of law, but share their power in a wise, pluralistic manner, offering opportunities for new entrepreneurs.

Could it be that regions within nations or states succeed or fail for the same reason?

The book cites numerous cases from the earliest city states to contemporary nation states to suggest regions thrive or falter for similar reasons. For example, they compare the sister cities of Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, citing the extraordinary gaps in income, education, infrastructure, and quality of life across two sides of a common boundary -- with the clear advantage on the United States of America side.

The difference lies in history and custom, it's suggested. The United States is seen as a nation that expanded opportunities from its founding onwards, from the first landholders, then to slaves, then to women. The process wasn't perfect: Native Americans were persecuted early on and a brutal war had to be fought to free the slaves. And to this day there are hard issues of disparities of wealth between rich and poor, corporate dominance of election financing, and push back against new immigrants…

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Our mission... to reflect a new narrative for 21st century cities and regions. Leaving behind the 20th century pattern of cheap energy, endless automobility, burgeoning suburbs, threatened inner cities. To a challenge-packed 21st century: energy prices headed north, perilous carbon emissions, deepening have-have not divisions. The weekly release includes Neal Peirce’s column for the Washington Post Writers Group, as well as a guest column by one of the seasoned urban professionals in the Citistates Group.

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Welcome to Citiwire.net! It's about America's cities today -- opportunities, challenges, including Neal Peirce's weekly column for the Washington Post Writers Group and a parallel commentary by one of his valued Citistates Group colleagues.
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