North Carolina in the Connected Age

North Carolina in the Connected Age: Challenges and Opportunities in a Globalizing Economy

Michael L. Walden
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 360
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    North Carolina in the Connected Age
    Book Description:

    At a time when North Carolina's population is exploding and its economy is shifting profoundly, one of the state's leading economists applies the tools of his trade to chronicle these changes and to inform North Carolinians in easy-to-understand terms what to expect in the future.Today we are living in a technologically connected age that has completely transformed the North Carolina economy, Walden explains. Once driven by tobacco, textiles, and furniture, the North Carolina economy now thrives on technology, pharmaceuticals, finance, food processing, and the manufacture of vehicle parts. While the state as a whole has benefited from these dramatic transformations, some population groups and regions have not experienced consistent economic growth. Walden identifies education as the key factor; a skilled, college-educated work force, he argues, is now a region's most prized commodity.Walden traces how the forces of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have remade the North Carolina economy, impacted people and regions, and led to the most substantive public policy debates in decades. Written in a lively style and including original research and insights,North Carolina in the Connected Ageis essential reading for anyone wanting to understand how the state arrived where it is today and what its future might hold.

    eISBN: 978-1-4696-0576-0
    Subjects: History, Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
  3. Preface: From Here to Where?
    (pp. xiii-xxiv)
  4. 1. The National Context: The Creation of the Connected Age
    (pp. 1-20)

    As in all states, the economy in North Carolina is influenced by events at the national level. Indeed, because the U.S. economy is so highly integrated in national markets, much of North Carolina’s change and development are linked to national trends. For example, national economic expansions and recessions are echoed at the state level by similar booms and busts. In addition, national technological, demographic, and production changes are mirrored at the state level.

    This chapter sets the national context for North Carolina’s economy by tracing the nation’s economic development since 1970. This analysis serves as the basis for evaluating North...

  5. 2. The Macroeconomics of Change: Forces Transforming North Carolina’s Economy
    (pp. 21-40)

    Few states have been impacted as much by the Connected Age as North Carolina. North Carolina’s twentieth-century economy was built largely on the availability of plentiful low-cost labor. The dramatic opening of world markets and the ability to manage production over wide geographic areas with modern communications and transportation mean that low-cost labor no longer needs to be located in North Carolina or the United States but can be located in China, India, and Eastern Europe. Consequently, production has increasingly left North Carolina, and the state’s dominant industries of the last century have diminished in size and importance.

    But North...

  6. 3. The Microeconomics of Change: The Remaking of North Carolina’s Industries
    (pp. 41-82)

    As chapter 2 reveals, the economic forces of the Connected Age have profoundly affected individual North Carolina industries. Some industries have prospered during the age, while others have struggled. This chapter moves the focus to the individual industry level, tracing trends in each of the state’s major industries in terms of output, employment, and productivity. I examine how each industry has been affected by and reacted to the Connected Age, with the goal of evaluating long-term prospects as the era proceeds.

    North Carolina’s traditional industries are furniture, lumber, and paper; textiles and apparel; tobacco products; and agriculture. These industries have...

  7. 4. Impacts on People
    (pp. 83-107)

    Many readers will find this the most important chapter in the examination of the modern North Carolina economy, because ultimately the effects that matter most are those on people. This chapter presents an in-depth look at how the changes that created and developed the North Carolina economy during the Connected Age affected the state’s people, including the size and composition of the population, living standards, employment and occupations, and earnings. The analysis identifies winners and losers in the modern North Carolina economy. The final section assesses where the Connected Age will take North Carolina’s residents and workers in the future....

  8. 5. Impacts on Places
    (pp. 108-158)

    Someone once said that all politics is local.¹ The same can be argued for economics. While international, national, and certainly statewide trends impact the financial fortunes of households and businesses, the greatest impacts come from the local economy. Local economies have elements that reflect characteristics of broader geographies but are not duplicates of their larger counterparts. Instead, local economies, just like people, tend to specialize in certain skills and industries. Thus, all states can have local economies moving in very different directions.

    This chapter demonstrates that North Carolina has many varied local economies. Furthermore, the trends and forces of the...

  9. 6. Impacts on Policies
    (pp. 159-202)

    Reactions to economic change always occur both privately and publicly. Privately, individuals and households adjust in several ways. They change their time allocation to work and nonwork activities, alter their rates of borrowing and saving, change employers or even occupations, acquire more education, and perhaps even move their residences. Businesses may adjust their mix of inputs and products, hire different kinds of workers, expand or contract output levels, or—the ultimate change—cease operations altogether.

    The public sector—that is, government—also reacts to economic change. Although observers constantly debate the relative size and role of government, no one would...

  10. 7. North Carolina’s Future in the Connected Age
    (pp. 203-212)

    North Carolina has taken a long journey through the Connected Age, and the trip is not over. Most of the major trends associated with the era—globalization, deregulation, advances in communication and transportation technologies, stronger educational requirements, and increases in service spending—will not be reversed and likely will accelerate. North Carolina is now part of the international economy, where money, ideas, products, and even labor—through immigration and offshoring—move more easily across geographic and political boundaries. Economic opportunities have multiplied, the potential gains from success have never been higher, but those who are not prepared or who have...

  11. A Primer on Economic Concepts
    (pp. 213-217)

    This is a book about the economy of North Carolina; as a result, economic concepts are used throughout. Like any discipline, economics has its own jargon. Jargon is really simply a shortcut for ideas that may take several sentences to explain. I believe—maybe because I am an economist—that economics jargon is not mind-numbing but is really based on common sense. Using jargon is a way to get to the point—and the good stuff—more quickly. This section includes an alphabetical list of some key economic terms and ideas used in the book, along with their explanations. There...

  12. Appendix A Determinants of North Carolina’s Economic Growth during the Connected Age
    (pp. 218-224)
  13. Appendix B Determinants of Real Wage Rates for North Carolina Workers during the Connected Age
    (pp. 225-227)
  14. Appendix C Determinants of Economic Growth in North Carolina Counties during the Connected Age
    (pp. 228-232)
  15. Appendix D Gross Local Product by Major Industry in North Carolina’s Regions, 1990 and 2004
    (pp. 233-244)
  16. Notes
    (pp. 245-282)
  17. Bibliography
    (pp. 283-318)
  18. Index
    (pp. 319-333)