Stewart O’Nan’s sepia-toned reminiscence of Pittsburgh past in the weekend Wall Street Journal on the eve of the G20 certainly showcases his ability as a prose stylist, but it wildly misses the mark in discussing the not quite so Steel City’s role in the global economic firmament.
O’Nan asks,”Is Pittsburgh, maybe the least international city in the U.S., with all of its recent successes and entrenched problems, a model for the whole world? Maybe not, but it might well serve as one for its regional neighbors like Buffalo and Cleveland, cities of a similar scale that have yet to rebound from their own sad collapses.”
He’s aiming too low. Pittsburgh already is a global city with ties to economies around the world in steel fabrication technology and supply (yes, still), alternative energy, and heath care and education. Bayer USA has their operations based there and, to the east, Spanish wind energy titan Gamesa has its first U.S. manufacturing plant.
Overall, the region has a gross metropolitan product per capita on par with Dublin, Ireland. My colleague Bruce Katz has more on the metro implications of big picture G20 decisions in today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.