A Low-Wage Dead End
THE SOURCE: “Economic Development and Globalization in South Carolina” by Lacy K. Ford Jr. and R. Phillip Stone, in Southern Cultures, Spring 2007.
Few southern states were more successful in the economic development derby of the 20th century than South Carolina. Its per capita income rose almost fivefold between 1950 and 1980. Its population increased by half. And its economy underwent the most remarkable growth since the cotton boom of the early 19th century, as officials pursued a low-wage, low-tax policy that lured heavy industry to the nonunion state. But now the jig may be up, write historians Lacy K. Ford Jr. of the University of South Carolina and R. Phillip Stone of Wofford College, Spartanburg, South Carolina. The state’s “staggering” educational shortcomings leave it straining to compete in a knowledge-based world economy.