Friday, August 3, 2018

More coverage of Fallows' Our Towns: A 100,000 Mile Journey Into America

I wrote this blog post about BBC coverage of the book back in June, and now Bloomberg's Noah Smith offers this on the Fallows' 2018 book.  I'm excerpting a portion of the Smith opinion piece that focuses on higher education and immigration.
Universities educate locals, creating a skilled workforce and making a town an attractive destination for companies looking to invest. But actually, as Fallows and Fallows note, this is a function best served by community colleges and specialized public schools. Research universities’ function is different — they draw highly skilled individuals to a town, some of whom then start businesses and do other high-value work. Of course, college students and government research dollars also buoy local demand
Note the distinction between community college and trade schools on the one hand and more elite higher education on the other.  Small cities and towns with elite colleges and universities are typically exemplars of rural gentrification. 
Immigrants, meanwhile, support a declining region’s tax base. As native-born Americans have forsaken small cities and the interior for the glitz and glamour of coastal metropolises, an influx of foreigners has been the only thing keeping many towns’ coffers filled. The authors describe a number of places where immigrants — skilled workers from Asia and elsewhere, laborers from Mexico and Central America, and refugees from war-torn countries in the Middle East and Asia — have started businesses and local civic organizations, boosted tax revenues, provided a local labor force to lure business investment, and provided a shot of energy and cultural vitality to places that would otherwise have become ghost towns.

No comments: