Just Growth: Inclusion and Prosperity in America’s Metropolitan Regions

Just Growth

Combining statistical analysis of the largest metropolitan regions in the U.S. with a set of seven in-depth case studies, the authors point to the processes, policies and institutional arrangements that help explain more equitable growth (or its absence) in metropolitan settings. These include the stabilizing effect of the public sector, the positive impact of deconcentrating poverty, the influential role of a minority middle class, and the importance of leadership efforts to develop a shared vision amongst diverse constituencies.

Breaking new ground in its innovative blend of quantitative and qualitative methods, the book argues that another sort of growth is possible. Offering specific insights for regional leaders and analysts of metropolitan areas, the authors also draw a broader – and quite timely – set of conclusions about how to scale up these efforts to address a U.S. economy still seeking to recover from economic crisis and distributional divisions.  Read an excerpt from Just Growth’s introduction here.

Paperback copies of Just Growth can be purchased for $25 at Routledge and Amazon.com, or even as a Kindle edition for only $9.99. Also, thanks to generous funding from the Ford Foundation, a limited number of copies of the book are available free for use in community efforts, professional circles, and classes.


Chris BennerChris Benner
Associate Professor, Community and Regional Development and
Researcher, Center for Regional Change
University of California, Davis

Manuel PastorManuel Pastor
Professor, American Studies & Ethnicity and
Director, Program for Environmental and Regional Equity
University of Southern California

17 Responses to

  1. Don’t let some self-serving hospice doctor decide
    what is this possible? While we’re on them, please do not appear to exist, but the search box.

  2. Belle says:

    I got this website from my buddy who shared with me regarding this website and now this time I am visiting this
    website and reading very informative content at this place.

  3. James Charles says:

    Professor Benner
    Thank for presenting at “No Family Held Back Town Hall Meeting” last night in San Jose your participation along with the rest of the presenters offered some valuable information on social justice issues of inclusion and equity that are really relevant to the Silicon Valley. Special Shout Out to Elizabeth and the team at SEIU-USWW for leading the efforts to create the conversation.

    • Elenice says:

      That adsredses several of my concerns actually.

    • Casanova says:

      I got home from work yesterday anofreotn and mowed the lawn and blew leaves before the rain came today. After I mowed my lawn, I went next door to my neighbors house and mowed his lawn and blew the leaves off his property. I slipped a pay it forward card under his door mat when I was finished. He came over and thanked me for what I’d done, and also asked me about pay it forward. I often do things for other people, but yesterday it felt a little different because it gave me the opportunity to tell him about paying it forward; also in hopes that it would have a chain reaction and many lives would be effected by such a positive and simple notion of paying it forward .

  4. Chris, thanks for your presentation, Tuesday, at the Sacramento Central Labor Council.

      • Stefce says:

        Service tax for credit card is RM50. aaditiondl burden to rakyat. Froeign worker laughing at malaysia rakyat. Why don’t define as service tax according to title such as Doctor title charge RM100 per credit card, Dato Charge RM150, Datuk / Datin Charge RM200, Datuk Seri / Datin Seri Charge RM250, and so on until Tun level? Those with title can afford to enjoy letsure lifestyle, then no problem to paid higher price of service tax on credit card.

  5. I just finished reading the book and I think the authors do a great job of articulating their argument. However there are some glaring assumptions and areas of neglect.

    First the authors assume that growth is not only possible but will return given the right policy make up. The argument essentially must hold the rest of the world, with whom we are in direct competition constant, and places undue faith in the ability of this country’s political processes to establish the institutional and financial systems required to make the adequate investments, education and train the workforce and attract the capital necessary to support economic growth in the future. All the while we see trends in education for instance, moving in the opposite direction as the system crumbles under the weight of the combined austerity at the national level and the internal civil war advocates for public systems and charters. Meanwhile China and much of the Emerging world’s educational standing is improving coupled with the other advantages of lower wages, lower cost of investing in new infrastructure and a determined workforce makes recent trends in the geographic shift of FDI more likely to continue. On the other side, Germany, Sweden and many of the other soical democracies of Europe have long standing traditions and institutions of training and apprentiship of younger workers and those looking to renew skill sets. These have been established for decades, while the U.S. must now play catch up and create the systems, the patterns and culture of use and the integration of the output into the labor market from scratch. Third, all these countries have more extensive, faster and robust broadband internet networks than the U.S. which makes their telecommunications system cheaper and much more reliable. Finally, every economic forecast for the global economy predicts that the global share of economic growth will shift from highly industrialized countries like the U.S. toward emerging market economies such as Brazil, South Africa, India and China which are expected to make up more than half of future economic growth by 2025-2050. The U.S. business community understands that this is where the smart investor will put there money and they want access to those markets. To make the adjustments to “just growth” that many left and liberal economic thinkers would like to see (and I personally support those goals) would require a level of domestic protectionism not seen since before WWII. It isn’t likely to happen. Without it, the only manufacturing likely to be done or return to the U.S. will be in the high tech sector which is very capital intensive and less labor intensive that the manufacturing that came before it. Further, this sector will be even more difficulty for entreprenuers of color to enter into, creating more racial/ethnic disparity, as white and to some extent Asian entreprenuers will have access to the capital, skills and networks required to start up and successfully manage those firms while African-Am and Latino entreprenuers (and their respective community labor forces) will remain in the lower growth service sectors of the economy.

    Neglected in the book were a couple of issues. First, “what you produce matters”. Not every region can produce or specialize in the same economic sectors. What you produce matters and while some regions will specialize and be successful in the high growth tech sectors of the future, others will continue to stagnate or at best attach themselves as service or resource appendages to those high growth regions, as advised by the World Bank’s 2005 World Development Report on Global Economic Geography. As a result , some regions will experience growth, others will not, driving them into greater austerity and as long as our quality of life and concept of justice are tied to economic growth, then they will suffer as well.

    Second, the authors for obvious reasons in the introduction to the book wanted to highlight the role that inequality played in creating the conditions and depth of the ecnomic crisis. Missing from their analysis both of the crisis and the capacity for future growth is the role of environmental limits and resource scarcity in both creating the crisis and in limiting the ability of the economy to recover. How does both climate change itself (by the devastation produced by intense climate variablity) impact the future prospects of growth,? Also how will the cost of mitigation and adaptation efforts limit the resources available for investments in other areas necessary to achieve “just growth”?

    These are important questions missing from the work, that I am taking up in my Doctoral research.

    • Diogo says:

      Interesting views .. I agree with the concept in ganerel of going to family and friends however the old adage of mixing business and pleasure still stands in my view .. you really could do untold harm however if there are no alternatives then who better I agree.However do people in the SME industry really know the alternatives, my guess not that many do unfortunately but more and more are getting to grips with the choices and a result the invoice discounting and factoring sector will see an increase in demand.

    • Abdo says:

      I had a rather hard time chsioong just one type of physician I would want to work for. So many of them fascinate me, and with me not really going into any medical field other than support, I never gave this any thought in the past. After reading the list, I am more favorable of working for a neonatologist. It is difficult to think about how neonatologist physicians sometimes have the most difficult job in the world, but I can only imagine how amazing it would be to be a part of saving a baby’s life. I had a coworker once whose baby was born at 36 weeks, and her baby had a lot of heart and lung problems. There were concerns about whether or not they would ever fully develop once she had him, but after many months in the NICU, and many scares that happened during it, the doctors were able to save him and he is now a very healthy 5 year old. It is because of that I have a higher interest in the neonatologist field.I hate to say which type of physician I would care less to work for, and it is because I worry that many will take it the wrong way. When I was 16, I used to help my mom at an assisted living home as a caregiver. We would get to work at 7:00 A.M. every morning to prepare breakfast for four of the elderly men and women that we were caring for. We would then make sure that all bedding was changed, rooms were cleaned, meals were prepared, and appointments were handled. We worked 12 hour days, and they were always grueling. The owner of the home made sure that everyone had their medicine and made it to their doctor appointments on time. However, she was more worried about getting paid for her services than actually helping the elderly. She would yell at them if they did something wrong, and even call them terrible names. My mom reported her and we both quit our job, but it has always left a sting in my heart since then. It is because of my experience with that situation that I do not think I could ever work for a gerontologist. I know that the situations would be much different, but ever since my experience with caring for elderly individuals it is very hard for me to think about assisting a physician in geriatrics because I worry that someone else might treat the elderly in the same way the owner of the home did. I am a firm believer that the elderly deserve the ultimate care and comfort when going through any treatment and aging in general, but I do not think I could ever work in that environment again.

    • Caroline says:

      For me this is a relatively easy qetsuion, but has a pretty complex answer. The specialty I have actually looked forward to working with is OB/GYN. I find that the ability of a woman’s body to produce a child, endure the amount of abuse it takes during a pregnancy, and the amount of pain endured during delivery is amazing. The joy of being able to be present as life enters the world is truly one of the greatest moments in life. To me that would be the best possible option. I also would love working in the operating room with a surgeon. I have experienced the OR quite a few times, and have been on both sides of the table. I have to say I would love to work with any surgeon in the OR except for Orthopedics. The reason behind that is the surgery’s are pretty brutal when it comes to the skeletal system. Having been in the OR with an Orthopedic surgeon and seeing the use of the saws, hammers and other heavy equipment in order to perform the surgery just sends chills up my spine. I know that type of surgery is not for me. I think my favorite surgeries have to be that of the abdominal cavity. The specialties that I would least like to work for are few, and for simple reasons. Pediatrics is not a specialty for me since I have four children of my own. My Aunt is a neonatal nurse practitioner and I followed her in high school and saw the good, the bad, and the ugly so I can honestly say I could not emotionally handle that type of position. Podiatry is also an area I could not see myself working. The reason behind this is pretty silly, but here goes, I very much dislike other peoples feet especially if they are not well kept. I know in the medical field you will encounter feet on a daily basis, but I could not mainly work with feet on an everyday basis. My last specialty is Orthopedics for the reasons I noted above about the barbaric nature of the surgeries and treatments for the musculoskeletal system. Its just not for me.

    • Amir says:

      Never seen a betetr post! ICOCBW

    • link says:

      Smack-dab what I was looking for-ty!

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