In the readings, there is a lot of attention to how urban environments are conducive to economic growth. Whether measured by new opportunities for the creation and expansion of businesses, or by the increases in employment opportunities for urban residents, the underlying argument is that there are dynamics in cities that facilitate increased prosperity and wealth. These can be seen in a set of “agglomeration economies” that take root in places like Chicago: economic advantages that come from many businesses locating in close proximity to one another. These might be concentrations of skilled labor or knowledge, sources of capital for investment, or they might be linkages among specialized producers selling inputs (products, know-how) that help your business. In the words of the economist Alfred Marshall, these advantages mean the ”mysteries of the trade become no mysteries; but are as it were in the air.”
II. Paper Instructions
After reading the articles The Online Library of Liberty by Alfred Marshall and The Economist (“Something in the Air”), write a short analytic paper discussing how Marshall’s ideas about the “concentration of specialized industries” in areas such as Fulton Market or the Golden Corridor might be conducive to Chicago’s tech sector rising to international prominence. Your response does not have to reference specifics regarding Chicago’s tech sector, although you could imagine your response from the perspective of a hypothetical tech entrepreneur. What is “in the air” in those areas that might help your company grow and thrive? In your response paper, please be sure to directly address the following question:
——- What are the economic benefits that come from proximity, and would they help your firm (or the tech sector more generally) to grow? Or, rather, what would impede the growth of Chicago’s tech sector if it were missing?
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