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Building Back Broader

Developed countries are spending enormous amounts of money in an attempt to recover from the pandemic, and should not waste it on old and tired schemes that have rarely worked. Instead, national or state governments should fund innovative local projects with high levels of community involvement and engagement.

CHICAGO – US President Joe Biden wants to “build back better” after the pandemic. It’s a widely shared goal. But what exactly does it mean, and how should we do it?

Clearly, we should build back with more equality of opportunity. Many communities in the United States and elsewhere in the developed world would not look out of place in a poor country: decrepit schools, crumbling infrastructure, and rising levels of social dysfunction, including crime and substance abuse.

These communities have shrunk as people with opportunities elsewhere have left, leaving everyone else in an even thicker miasma of hopelessness. Some of these communities have been disadvantaged for a long time, having been hammered by a previous wave of trade- or technology-induced joblessness. Others have fallen behind more recently, albeit for similar reasons.

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