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🔗 To Fight Populism, Invest in Left-Behind Communities by Diane Coyle - Project Syndicate:

In today’s knowledge-based economy, where value is increasingly derived from intangible sources, gathering people in densely populated urban areas often results in positive spillovers, creating so-called “economies of agglomeration” that offset the inconveniences of city life. While cities have clusters of low-paid service jobs and pockets of severe poverty, they are magnets for highly paid professionals and university graduates.

The economic upheavals of the past 15 years – the Great Recession of 2008-09, fiscal austerity, the COVID-19 pandemic, the energy crisis, and the inflationary surge of 2022 – have accelerated this trend. People living in “places that don’t matter” have seen quality jobs disappear, public services eroded, and their economic prospects rapidly diminish. Seen in this light, today’s populist backlash is hardly surprising, especially when many politicians are part of the thriving urban elite.

To address these ongoing failures and weaken the appeal of populist narratives, Western countries must revitalize small towns and rural communities and ensure universal access to essential public services. But this must be part of a broader national effort that unites citizens from all segments of society around the common cause of enhancing collective well-being.

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