Friday, June 13, 2008

Expanding Midwest

I see that Richard Longworth's regional definition is growing in size:

Our Midwest is flunking the challenge of globalization.

It's hard to imagine, but the Midwest was the Silicon Valley of the Industrial Age. From western Pennsylvania to central Iowa, a generation of dreamers and entrepreneurs powered the Industrial Revolution in the United States and created the American economy.

Now it's over. The Global Age is here and has thrown what the Midwest does - intensive farming and heavy industry - up in the air. We need new ways for this region to earn its living, and we haven't begun to find them.

Well, saying that Mr. Longworth's regional conception is bigger might be incorrect. Western Pennsylvania is a welcome addition to the scope of collaboration, but the original area of the "Caught in the Middle" Midwest included all of Iowa and even a bit of Nebraska (Omaha and Lincoln). I'd love to know more about the evolution of his mega-regional thinking.

More or less, I'd conclude that Longworth is settling upon the geography of the Big 10 Conference, a prominent college athletic association. Does northern Missouri (including St. Louis) still make the cut? I'm not sure.

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