ON-Lion Letter
"The American Great Lakes region has long been a region defined by the forces of production, both agricultural and industrial," begins a February report from the Sagamore Institute in Indianapolis.  "From the 1840s on, the region forged a legacy of productive power, easily surpassing the old northeast as the primary center of American industrial and agricultural might.

"For the first time in a generation," according to Clues From the Past:  The Midwest as an Aspirational Region, "the Great Lakes are experiencing demographic and economic trends in their favor.  Yet in everything from migration to industrial growth, the region can expect to face strong competition from other areas, most notably Texas, the Southeast, the Great Plains and the Intermountain West for new jobs and production."

Clues From the Past was researched and written by Joel Kotkin, Mark Schill, and Ryan Streeter.  Kotkin is a presidential fellow at Chapman University in Orange, Calif., and a contributing editor of City Journal, published by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research.  Schill is the vice president for research at the Praxis Strategy Group and managing editor of NewGeography.com.  Streeter is a distinguished fellow for economic and fiscal policy at Sagamore and a non-resident fellow of The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF).

To meet the challenge of competition from other areas, they write, "and truly take advantage of improved conditions, the region must develop a strategy that is suited to its particular advantages.  There is no need to try to compete with Manhattan on urban chic, with Silicon Valley in high-tech startups or with Hollywood in entertainment as some growth theorists would likely recommend.  The Great Lakes needs to focus primarily on those very values of production and community that sparked its original ascendance.  Once these are identified and strengthened, the region can once again not only rebound, but define its own space in the national and global economy."

The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee supported the research for and writing of Clues From the Past and substantially supports the Manhattan Institute and GMF projects.
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