[Wendell] Cox and [Joel] Kotkin are right to reject stereotypes of the South as backwater good only for resource extraction and the supply of cheap labor. First of all, population growth in the South isn’t driven exclusively by low-skill immigration or monstrous families of slack-jawed yokels. Southern states are also destinations for an increasing number of well-educated. What’s more, the growth sectors are often high-tech. …
Yet Lind is right to point out the importance of “Whig” policies that promote infrastructure, education, and research. The road networks on which Southern sprawl depends isn’t supported by the free market. They’re built and maintained by the federal government. What’s more, growth in the South is being driven by its cities. And hotspots like Raleigh, Austin, and Houston have flourishing universities and STEM sectors that benefit from generous subsidies.
He summarizes his point:
So the South is enjoying impressive economic success. But it’s succeeding because its economic model is more “Northern” than it appears.