Thursday, August 30, 2012

Balkanize! Balkanize!

In ten years, I've heard the term "balkanized" used just twice in business sessions.  I cringed both times.

The first time was on a conference call with a main line rail company executive explaining that avoidance of balkanization is why they don't allow suburban industrial areas that are within 50 miles or so of one of the railroad's existing intermodal yards to get an intermodal transfer point of their own. 

From my standpoint, I see the value to customers and, even, the railroads of locating more intermodal than less.  No such luck, though.

Wednesday it was with a Brookings Institute staffer who explained, three times, why they have labeled their export encouragement program the Metropolitan Export Initiative.  He said Brookings is attempting to avoid balkanization.  He further explained that Metropolitan areas have export expertise.  I guess if you repeat it three times then it must be true (note the sarcasm).

From my standpoint, an export from a rural area is just as impactful, if not more, to the U.S. economy as one from a dense, urban area.  I don't understand how the tools for exporting only work where population density is at a certain attainment level (note: more sarcasm).

In both instances, I guess I'm finding that I'm for balkanization.  Divide and conquer more, I say!

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