Ben's Reviews > Cities and the Wealth of Nations

Cities and the Wealth of Nations by Jane Jacobs
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's review
Nov 13, 2009

really liked it
bookshelves: economics
Read in December, 2009

Please read this book.

This came recommended to me by the president of my company. Jacobs realigns our thinking about economics when we focus on states and national economy. It was written about 20 years ago, before the fall of the Berlin Wall, before USSR became Russia + some other countries, before Yugoslavia broke up, before the EU, before NAFTA. Before globalization. I think she would have had some fun things to say about that, because economics moved in exactly the opposite direction that she says we need to focus.

Focus on urban area economics. Make sure cities are import-replacing. This means that if you see that your city is importing everything (food, clothing, tools, etc), then all of the money you earn is going somewhere an import-replacing city. Our country is turning into a failing economy because we're exporting manufacturing work and replacing all of those jobs with service jobs. All of the service jobs are providing services that require goods that are not made here.

I think anyone concerned with buying local should use this in their arsenal. It's a great case for locavores, and those who are proud of the local farms and manufacturers. We need to stop focusing on why GM is leaving and start small companies in our own cities that help people within our cities first, and then people in other cities (this is how you make money...taking it from other regions). San Francisco is doing it. NYC is doing it. They both weathered the recession quite well.
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