Great Relocationなる仮説をノアピニオン氏が提唱している。それを乱暴に要約してしまうと、ここで紹介したクルーグマンの新経済地理学を、ここで紹介したロドリックの訴えるような製造業の重要性と接合したもの、と言えるかもしれない。


The basic idea of the theory is this: It is expensive to move products around. This means that if you have a factory, you want to locate it close to where your customers are, to avoid paying a bunch of shipping costs. Now consider two factories. The workers in the first factory will be the consumers for the second factory, and vice versa. So the two factories want to locate near each other ("agglomeration"). As for the workers/consumers, they want to go where the jobs are, so they move near the factories. Result: a city. The world becomes divided into an industrial "Core" and a much poorer agricultural "Periphery" that produces food, energy, and minerals for the Core.

Now when you have different countries, the situation gets more interesting. Capital can flow relatively easily across borders (i.e. you can put your factory anywhere you like), but labor cannot. If you start with a world where everyone's a farmer, agglomeration starts in one country, but that country gets maxed out when the costs of density (high land prices) start to cancel out the effect of agglomeration. As transport costs fall and the economy grows, the industrial Core spreads from country to country. Often this spread is quite abrupt, resulting in successive "growth miracles" that get faster and faster (as each new industrial region starts out with a bigger global customer base). The evidence strongly indicates that agglomeration is the driver behind developing-world growth.

But here's the thing: in the theory, the "old Core" doesn't keep getting richer. In fact, under some scenarios (which are difficult to explain concisely), the old Core even gets slightly poorer while the "new Core" catches up. For a while, the negative effects of relocation trump the positive effects of progress.

So this could explain why people in the rich world are getting poorer. In the 50s, America was the only industrial "Core" on the planet. But since the 60s, we have seen successive "growth miracles": Japan and Europe in the 60s/70s, then Taiwan/Korea/Singapore in the 80s, then China since then, and now even India. In a New Economic Geography world, we would expect these successive relocations of manufacturing to hold down income growth in the U.S., even if technology was advancing as usual. And now Japan and Europe are feeling the pinch as well.







このアベントの批判に対しノアピニオン氏は追記で再説明を行っているが、アベントを納得させるのに十分な説明になっているかどうかは微妙に見える。おそらくはエントリ本文で「(「簡単に説明するのは難しい)ある条件下[some scenarios (which are difficult to explain concisely)]」として割愛した説明が求められているのではないか、という気がする*2