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The Wealth and Poverty of RegionsWhy Cities Matter$
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Mario Polese

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780226673158

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: February 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226673172.001.0001

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What Have We Learned?

What Have We Learned?

(p.195) 7 What Have We Learned?
The Wealth and Poverty of Regions

Mario Polèse

University of Chicago Press

This chapter looks at the general explanation of why some places are wealthier than others. There has been a recurrent contest between general laws and particular circumstances, with the latter victorious more often than not. If there is anything to be learned it is that actual growth and decline is unconventional. Distance and small size may be the chief constraints to growth for one place; while for another it may be its negative industrial legacy. Grand theories will constantly be overturned by troublesome exceptions. This chapter explains that beneath the fortune there are unavoidable forces at work, which drive economic activity and people towards particular places. The lessons for developing and emerging economies are unambiguous. Economic growth will inevitably produce urbanization and urban concentration. Attempting to halt either is futile. Regional differences in wealth will emerge, most notably during the early years of development. A nation in which all places grow equally is impossible.

Keywords:   regional differences, economic growth, urbanization, urban concentration, emerging economies, developing economies

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