The Next Economy: What’s at Stake for New York?

Bruce Katz addressed the Brookings Council at the Harvard Club in New York, outlining the unique assets the state can use to transition to the next economy.

Thank you Jim for that kind introduction… and for your sustained support and intellectual contribution to the work of Brookings and the Metropolitan Policy Program.

Six months from now this state will elect a new governor, incredibly the fourth person to occupy the office in four years.

The new governor will take office at a transformative period in our nation.

The “Great Recession” has been a wake-up call.

It unveiled an economy dangerously out of whack: frenzied with consumption, wasteful in its use of energy, more adept at increasing inequity than sharing prosperity, more successful at exacerbating rather than easing divisions between Wall Street and Main Street.

It is time to get back on track and lay the foundation for a radically different kind of growth both in New York and in the nation.

In that spirit, I will make the following propositions:

First, the shape of the next American economy must be export-oriented, low carbon, and innovation fueled. This is a vision where we export more and waste less, innovate in what matters, produce and deploy more of what we invent. This is the kind of productive and sustainable economy which must emerge from the rubble of this recession.

Second, New York can play in the next economy, but it requires the state to recognize the dominant roles played by the New York City metro and five other upstate areas—Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, and Poughkeepsie. New York is one of the most metropolitan states in the country, and it is high time it acted like one.

To build the next economy, New York must connect the macro vision to metro reality—the Macro to the Metro. The state must find creative ways, even in these difficult fiscal times, to invest in infrastructure and innovation. It must reform and restructure its post-secondary education system. And it must overhaul local government to better align with the metropolitan geography of the economy.