(Forbes) The world’s biggest and most dynamic economy derives its strength and resilience from its geographic diversity. Economically, at least, America is not a single country. It is a collection of seven nations and three quasi-independent city-states, each with its own tastes, proclivities, resources and problems. These nations compete with one another–the Great Lakes loses factories to the Southeast, and talent flees the brutal winters and high taxes of the city-state New York for gentler climes–but, more important, they develop synergies, albeit unintentionally.

Wealth generated in the humid South or icy northern plains benefits the rest of the country; energy flows from the Dakotas and the Third Coast of Texas and Louisiana; and even as people leave the Northeast, the brightest American children continue to migrate to this great education mecca, as well as those of other nations.

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