What Happens When the Richest U.S. Cities Turn to the World? As the economy has changed, so have the relationships between places, to the disadvantage of smaller cities and rural areas.
Posted in: Internet Use/New Technologies at 31/12/2017 20:05
Well before anyone thought of this place as the center of the tech economy, the Bay Area built ships. And it did so with the help of many parts of the country.
Douglas fir trees logged in the Pacific Northwest were turned into lumber schooners here. Steel from the East, brought in by railroad, became merchant vessels. During World War II, workers assembled military ships with parts from across the country: steam turbines from Schenectady, N.Y., and Lester, Pa.; gear winches from Tacoma, Wash.; radio equipment from Newark; compasses from Detroit; generators from Milwaukee.
Most of these links that tied the Bay Area’s prosperity to a web of places far from here have faded. Westinghouse closed the Pennsylvania plant. General Electric downsized in Schenectady. The Milwaukee manufacturer dissolved. The old Bethlehem Shipbuilding yard in San Francisco will soon be redeveloped. And its former parent company, the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in Bethlehem, Pa., went bankrupt in 2001.
The companies that now drive the Bay Area’s soaring wealth — and that represent part of the American economy that’s booming — don’t need these communities in the same way. Google’s digital products don’t have a physical supply chain. Facebook doesn’t have dispersed manufacturers. Apple, which does make tangible things, now primarily makes them overseas.