Friday, July 25, 2014
ASTONISHING: AMERICA IN THE GLOBAL INNOVATION RACE
Thinking about a college education and the cost of it in time and money? Read this book. I think it's a must-read for every parent, high school or college student, and employment-seeker. Anyone in or above high school will take away multiple insights from Enrico Moretti's The New Geography of Jobs, Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2012.
Moretti, an economist at U.C., Berkeley, focuses on human capital, the economics of cities and regions, and labor economics. His obvious social concern, which is evident throughout the book, may stem from his brief earlier career as a social worker in his native Italy. Moretti is a rising and relatively young economist.
Some main points from the book:
· "Brain hubs" in the U.S. are accelerating as other metros and non-metros decline.
· Brain hubs exhibit innovators, higher education, higher productivity and higher incomes. Think San Francisco Bay area versus Detroit, or Seattle in comparison to Albuquerque.
· And this very key point: the new economy of America focuses on human capital, which drives innovations and growth.
The book is written in a popular style, with ample illustrations in the form of graphs and maps. You don't have to be an academic to understand it. In fact, the message is summarized in a display on the book-cover.
I come away from the book with further questions: does the wealth creation of innovators explain the high percentage of wealth held by the top percentage of the American population? Does the focus on "things," as required by engineering and technology education and careers, come at the cost of the loss of valuable cultural memory: religion, myth, and story?
As a reader, I want Moretti to broaden his research to include such topics. And especially this: Relative economic equality, and absolute equality of opportunity, are important values. How can such values be attained if brain hubs are accelerating while other areas are trending downward?
Check with your library. Either it holds the book or can obtain it for you through interlibrary loan.
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