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« Chart of the day: Kashmir fatalities | Main | The moral case for entrepreneurs »
12:07AM

How solid the Core, how little of the Gap must be integrated to effectively shrink it

The G-20 map just reminds us of the Core-Gap divide.  Per the original map, I've already moved Turkey into the Core and a good case is made for Indonesia, leaving really only Saudi Arabia on the wrong side of the divide, but what else can be said of the place that treats women so and supplies so many of the world's terrorists?

But then you look at this urbanization map of the world and you realize that when it comes to shrinking the Gap, there ain't all that much ground to cover really.  You just need to connect the mega-coastal cities with good rules, good supply chains, good infrastructure, good transpo and people movement and media, etc., and you've got most of the situation basically covered.  The "contiguity" argument from "Blueprint" seems to hold: there's no leapfrogging.  You have to move in chunks that connect to other chunks.

What the second map says to me:  There are several Africas that link up to various other parts of the world. West to West, East to Asia, Horn to the Middle East, the north to Europe, etc.  Integrating Africa will go much faster than I previously anticipated.  Indeed, my past pessimism on that score is my biggest miscall of the last decade.

Other thing you note from the second map relates to Joel Kotkin's "The next hundred million," a book I'm currently reading:  we've got plenty of room in the heartland for the next 100 million.  Only 5% of America is urbanized, although you basically have to write off Alaska.

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Reader Comments (3)

Hmmm, Siberia joined G-20 ahead of Russia?

July 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVadim

Good catch. I had this sense of something being weird on the map as I grabbed it quickly from a Google search.

July 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTom Barnett

I look forward to your review of and thoughts about Kotkin's book. I have found it a fantastic antidote to the worst excesses (suburbs are evil! Richard Florida is the prophet of our times!) of some of my geography/ planning professors and fellow students as well as an effective argument for optimism on America's future.

July 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterEddie

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