On Geopolitics

How the Plight of a Heartland Could Upset America's Balance

Rebecca Keller
Senior Science and Technology Analyst, Stratfor
Mar 21, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
A snapshot of industrial decay is seen in this picture of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, from Oct. 6, 2016.

A snapshot of industrial decay is seen in this picture of Johnstown, Pennsylvania, from Oct. 6, 2016. As the United States' economic core shifts from the heartland to the coasts, social unrest is not beyond the realm of possibility.

(JEFF SWENSEN/Getty Images)

The death of the American middle class and with it, large swaths of the American interior, is no secret. From globalization to technological change, a variety of factors has decimated the heartland of the country at the same time as demographic, economic and other trends are beginning to concentrate the country's economic wealth and political influence along the coasts. With the traditional core of the United States no longer carrying the weight it once did, the country as a whole has lost a largely unified center in geographic, economic and social terms. Today, many of the country's growing economic hubs share a similar type of geographical location -- a coast -- yet they remain geographically, culturally and economically diverse. In this most basic sense, diversity breeds drivers that divide rather than unify, meaning that the continued shift in the United States' economic core away from its geographic center, alongside other...

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