Published: 19th Nov 2013

The direction of travel is all too clear.  Go to East St Louis or Camden, New Jersey.  Go to Detroit, and the swathes of abandoned housing, vacant land stretching as far as the eye can see, rubbish strewn and miserable. The prevailing economics of regeneration is based on the idea of comparative advantage.  Places need to specialise, otherwise – heaven forfend – everywhere will have to build their own radios or cars or anything else. Or so the old-world economists mutter when you suggest that ‘comparative advantage’ might be taken too far. Because when it is, what you get is too few winners and far too many losers, places that are simply swept aside in the narrowly efficient new world, where only one place builds radios.  Or grows carrots. The irony is that places like East St Louis, where – at one stage – the police were expected to provide … (To read the full article, subscribe below)