The Cities are Taking Over

It is always a pleasant experience when one’s meager and undefined ideas are supported by others who have moved forward on those ideas. The mariner watched the PBS News Hour the other night and two segments related to observations in the mariner’s past posts.

The mariner wrote in the posts “Federalism” and “States in Action” that the transition to a new economy would be driven more by changes at the state and local level. The scale of dollars and the freedom of fifty states contributing to change will be more achievable and occur more quickly.

A new book has been published: ‘Metropolitan Revolution, How Cities and Metros are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy’ by Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley. The authors make the case that the old image of Federalism with the Federal Government sitting atop the US political structure is no longer valid. The energy and creativity to climb from a broken government system is evolving in cities and Metropolitan areas. The book makes the point that cities and metropolitan areas sit on only twelve percent of the nation’s land but comprise two thirds of the population and seventy-five percent of GDP.

Cities have no choice but to be creative immediately. City expenditures occur daily and the Federal Government is not helping in a meaningful way. The book describes how a city is run not just by the mayor and city council, it is run by a consortium of politicians, entrepreneurs, universities, labor unions, city businesses, museums and others who have a need to keep the city running.

These groups are joining forces to find ways to maintain infrastructure, police and firefighters, even social health policies. This effort leads to another observation made by the mariner: As the world develops a global marketplace, there will be room beneath for a local economy.

The cities will learn from one another. Detroit, a bankrupt city has found some success in growing food on vacant city plots. Detroit must develop industries to revitalize its city and provide jobs – it has no choice. Having no choice is the reason that cities will lead the way out of the dysfunctional state of affairs that Congress has provided for the last two decades.

The second segment on the News Hour was the organization of elderly folks to care for each other and to prevent having to go into an institution. For an annual fee, prorated according to income, many in-home services are provided by the members. Every member is called every day. The members can call a number to get transportation to doctor appointments, grocery stores or any location needed. The key to the success of the group, albeit to avoid the threat of being institutionalized, is to care for one another in a hands-on, all-for-one manner. Obviously, a phenomenon based on the Good Samaritan parable and on other caring verses in the New Testament. It is an example of changing the pew paradigm.

To review these segments yourself, search PBS Newshour.

Ancient Mariner

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