Politics & Media
Dec 31, 2008, 06:42AM

Southern Politics

The phrase "black and white" couldn't be more of a double entendre.

Something to chew on for the New Year:

To shift to the more recent fights over economic policy, it's also misleading to contrast "enlightened" non-southern "high-road" strategies with benighted southern "low-road" strategies. One generally well-accepted way of looking at state economic development strategies distinguishes "first-wave" theories, focusing on corporate subsidies and "innate" advantages centering on low wages, little regulation, and the absence of unions, with "second-wave" theories that focus on home-grown entrepreneurship, high-wage and high-value industries (such as technology), and perhaps "third-wage" theories that depend on educational and infrastructure improvements with a long-range payoff. While the capital-starved South did indeed pioneer the low-road "first wave" strategies in a long period from the 1920s through the 1970s, they became the staple of Republican politicians nationwide by the 1980s. And "second-wave" and even "third-wave" theories were all the rage in the South when I was working on community and economic development issues in Georgia in the 1980s and 1990s.


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