Book Report on The New Geography of Jobs
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The book The New Geography of Jobs was written by Enrico Moretti, an economist and researcher who works nowadays as a teacher at the Berkeley Faculty. The main points of his research are urban economics and labor economics. The book of Moretti contains a critical overview of the current situation in the United States of America and the main reasons why all this is happening. The author states that the main problem of the United States of America is not a gap between majority and minority, or those who are rich and poor, but it is rather the gap between those who have a college degree and those who after graduating school have found job. Those who have college education are part of the growth of the American economy: they are in the center of scientific, innovation life; they underpin the development of media and informational technology of the United States of America. Moretti has shown in his book that there is some relation between the geographical concentration level, level of those who are educated and the amount of work places and direct and indirect benefits. He shows, “Clustering favors the promotion of self-feeding processes of growth, directly affecting wage levels, both in the innovative industries as well as the sectors that service them. Indirect benefits also accrue from knowledge and other spillovers, which accompany clustering in innovation hubs” (Moretti 95).
Moretti’s research shows that the education benefits are such that federal aid increases more than wage (it is also supported by public opinion). On the other hand, the author fears that if these issues are left unsolved, it may lead to the development of geographical segregation and Balkanization in terms of education. Throughout the book, the author gives examples of what waits for those who do not have any proper education:
Tens of thousands of people work in the United States as yoga teachers...This number is expected to grow rapidly in the foreseeable future...part of a vast web of non-tradable jobs....In the United States, two-thirds of all jobs are in this sector. Most of the 27 million jobs created over the past two decades have been in the non-tradable sector. (Moretti 56-57)
For waiters, the place to be is Las Vegas...even waiters working in normal establishments do well in Sin City. The typical waiter makes $18.20 an hour, tips included--the highest average hourly wage in any large metropolitan area. (Moretti 89)
This book is not said to be the tutorial for better life, and it does not contain practical advices how to become rich or better one’s life. This book is about cruel reality and what may wait for the United States of America and its economy in the near future. The main idea of the book is to show on simple examples what may happen to a person without any edcation and what in turn may happen to a country where the majority is without higher education. Besides, the author outlines the development of such situation; he gives a historical overview and explains the reasons for such a gap that exists nowadays in the United States of America. Moretti also suggests several solutions for those poor cities, which were used to be cities with developed economies.
A city stuck in a poverty trap faces the same challenges. It is trapped by its past. The only way to move a city from a bad equilibrium to a good one is with a big push: a coordinated policy that breaks the impasse and simultaneously brings skilled workers, employers, and specialized business services to a new location. Only the government can initiate these big push policies. (Moretti 256)
Nevertheless, the problem is that Moretti has never given any example to show that his theory works. Obviously, there are some examples of “Big Rush” theory, but it was not an industrial Big Rush, which was appropriate for every city. Instead, it was public or private Big Rush that was part of the development of such large cities as New York or Chicago. Besides, it seems that Moretti could not tell everything he wanted; his book is full of such ideas that are impropriate for modern cities because he did not take into account that all cities have their own way of development. However, this book is still may be very useful for politicians and economists as it may become an issue of debates. Moretti’s main idea in this book is that society should go on developing and using more and more innovations and technologies, which work. He states that simple manufacturing will lead to nothing, giving as the example such countries as China and India where the manufacturing process is highly developed, but there are no implemented innovations. Thus, these countries move to nowhere.
Moretti suggests that investors are not interested in factory workers, nor are the representatives of different financial funds, because they think that everyone can work at the factory as this job does not require special skills. However, if financial funds begin to invest in factories, the number of working places will increase, and there will be more workers as a result. The point is that they will work for the same salary, but it will be “the job of yesterday” (Moretti 87) Moretti suggests that such large industrial cities like Flint, Detroit and Cleveland may disappear in no time because those factories, which exist there nowadays, will become useless soon as people will understand futility of the job of yesterday. The book The New Geography of Jobs by Moretti contains a lot of good ideas, although many of them are useless. For example, his opinion about education is the following: the higher one’s educational level is, the higher is his or her inncome. He states, “One way to correct this market failure is to provide subsidies for college education” (Moretti 14).
However, the author does not seem to realize that a lot of money has been already invested in education. Another false conclusion is that “for the first time in history, the average worker has not experienced an improvement in standard of living compared to the previous generation. In fact he is worse off by almost any measure” (Moretti 71).
The point is that workers, as well as other citizens of the United States of America, have experienced economic growth and the improvement of living standards. Thirty or forty years ago, neither any worker, nor even a relatively rich person could afford to travel all around the world by airplane. Nowadays, the situation is different: every worker earns enough money to afford him or her to fly within the country. Besides, if every person gets college education, there will be nobody to work at plants. Thus, there will be no industry in the county.
As it was mentioned above, this book may be beneficial for policymakers and economists, who try to understand the sources of American poverty. It describes the problems of modern industry that exist in the United States of America and gives several solutions to these problems. On the other hand, these solutions are not very effective; the author gives only theory, which is not based on practical implementation. However, this book is useful to understand the reasons of poverty in the United States and try to find the solutions. The New Geography of Jobs can be a good book for the analysis of situation in the country, for instance in the United States of America (because most of the examples are given within the United States of America). In addition, it is full of examples from different countries of the word, which makes it possible to have a better view of the poverty reasons in America. This book was interesting to read because it is about the modern situation in the country and where it may lead. However, in my personal point of view, the main cause of poverty is not the lack of education. Perhaps, the main problem is that people have become too lazy in the past years: it is easier for some to learn how to work on one or another machine than to study in college for several years.
In conclusion, the book The New Geography of Jobs may become a good tool for learning the reasons of poverty in the United States of America, but it is useless in finding the solutions for such problems. Better education is not the decision, although it matters, but in the point of view of every average person. Besides, the United States of America is a capitalistic country, and everyone cannot get a similar salary there; people are paid depending on how well they work and what job they have.
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