The future of America’s economy lies in its high-tech innovation sector, but it is now clear that same sector is widening the nation’s regional divides—a fact that became starkly apparent with the 2016 presidential election.
Based on “winner-take-most” network economies, the innovation sector has generated significant technology gains and wealth but has also helped spawn a growing gap between the nation’s dynamic “superstar” metropolitan areas and most everywhere else.
Neither market forces nor bottom-up economic development efforts have closed this gap, nor are they likely to. Instead, these deeply seated dynamics appear ready to exacerbate the current divides.
Which is why the nation requires a major push to counter these dynamics. Specifically, the nation needs—as one initiative among others—a massive federal effort to transform a short list of “heartland” metro areas into self-sustaining “growth centers” that will benefit entire regions.