To see Richard C. Longworth, a former Chicago Tribune reporter, who'll be discussing his book "Caught in the Middle: America's Heartland in the Age of Globalism."
Trying to get a handle on globalization's impact on the Midwest, Longworth clocked 11,000 miles on his car to visit dying rural towns, destitute inner cities as well as such nodes of the new world order as Chicago and Warsaw, Indiana (the global center of artificial hips and knees, an example of how communities can benefit when companies in the same line of business "cluster" together).
His assessment: the Midwest is the region of the country least-equipped to compete in the new era. That said, he thinks it has the tools and intellectual resources to survive and potentially thrive. Greater cooperation between its universities (he makes the point that in aggregate the Midwest's universities represent an unmatched resource of brainpower) is part of it. Greater connectivity between its farflung cities is another (hello, high speed rail). Investment in education. Embracing immigrants. Nurturing industries of the future, notably things green.
On the flip side, low taxes aren't a panacea. Xenophobia is a killer. As is clinging to a old ways.
Julia Taylor, of the Greater Milwaukee Committe, describes her thoughts on the book here.
Sadly, the Brawler won't be there. But if he were, he would ask Longworth if he thinks Milwaukee is well-served by a conservative establishment -- including a county executive -- that opposes any kind of rail transit, including rail that would facilitate travel between Milwaukee and the Midwest's global juggernaut, Chicago.
The gig starts at 7.