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About the Book

Beyond the Book

360 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 27 illus., 38 tables, 1 map, appends., notes, bibl., index

Paper
ISBN  978-1-4696-1533-2
Published: February 2014

North Carolina in the Connected Age

Challenges and Opportunities in a Globalizing Economy

By Michael L. Walden


At a time when North Carolina's population is exploding and its economy is shifting profoundly, one of the state's leading economists applies the tools of his trade to chronicle these changes and to inform North Carolinians in easy-to-understand terms what to expect in the future.

Today we are living in a technologically connected age that has completely transformed the North Carolina economy, Walden explains. Once driven by tobacco, textiles, and furniture, the North Carolina economy now thrives on technology, pharmaceuticals, finance, food processing, and the manufacture of vehicle parts. While the state as a whole has benefited from these dramatic transformations, some population groups and regions have not experienced consistent economic growth. Walden identifies education as the key factor; a skilled, college-educated work force, he argues, is now a region's most prized commodity.

Walden traces how the forces of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries have remade the North Carolina economy, impacted people and regions, and led to the most substantive public policy debates in decades. Written in a lively style and including original research and insights, North Carolina in the Connected Age is essential reading for anyone wanting to understand how the state arrived where it is today and what its future might hold.

About the Author

Michael L. Walden is William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor and extension economist in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at North Carolina State University. He is author of seven books, including Smart Economics: Commonsense Answers to Fifty Questions about Government, Business, and Households. He also produces a daily radio program and writes a weekly syndicated newspaper column.


Reviews

"[Walden's] historically based, data-rich assessment of our economic problems and possibilities is sufficient to generate a margin of hope, if not frissons of excitement about the state's prospects. . . . [This] fine book can help our political leaders to find their way."
--Raleigh News & Observer

"Walden's book has arrived on the scene at the perfect time. The challenges facing North Carolina are staggering, and decision makers at every level are searching for solid information. Walden gives us a no-frills, precise account of North Carolina's economic transformation since the 1970s, the current economic forces driving the economy, and the impact these forces are having on North Carolina's people and places. North Carolina in the Connected Age is a must-read book for everyone who cares about this state's economic future--especially those who want to do something about it."
--Billy Ray Hall, President, North Carolina Rural Economic Development Center

"Here lies a gold mine of information, containing nuggets easily accessible to readers with only superficial understanding of the Tar Heel economy as well as rich veins for those seeking in-depth insight into the forces that are transforming it."
--David Kinney, Editor-in-Chief, Business North Carolina

“Demonstrating a great depth of experience, knowledge, and insight into North Carolina’s economic past, present, and future, Michael Walden takes readers through the ups and downs of the state’s economy in a cogent, easy-to-read style. Walden is one of the state’s preeminent economists, and North Carolina in the Connected Age is on the mark.”
--John D. Kasarda, director, The Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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