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Regional and Transnational Discourse: The Politics of Ideas and Economic Development in Cascadia

IJED, Vol. 2 No. 3, (2000)

Two features distinguish local economic development initiatives in this new century: they are situated in the gap or disjuncture of economic power and political authority and they increasingly extend across scales. Gaps in the ability of national governments to control global and transnational economic processes (Pierson, 1996; Wallace, 1996)--- stemming from the logic of new competition and production processes at a global scale as well as limited national sovereignty--direct the attention and activities of political and economic interests to subnational levels. In turn, conditions of interdependence, indivisibilities, and uncertainty lead to greater efforts to coordinate actors and to channel decisions at subnational levels (Storper, 1997). When these conditions and the consequent need for coordination spill over multiple scales, effective policy initiatives become contingent on establishing multi-level governance arrangements. Even in the absence of formal plans or political union, governance strategies that extend beyond individual communities and, in some cases, across borders are emerging in North America. Recognizing the significance of these multilevel governance strategies will be the cornerstone to understanding local economic development issues in the next decade.

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