So, should this region rebrand itself as Chicagoland?
Traveling abroad, should we say we hail from the greater Chicago area, you know, land of the Cubs, Bears, White Sox? (And would that make our Big 10 team, gulp, the Northwestern Wildcats?)
The benefits of sharing Chicago's halo are obvious.
From Berlin to Beijing, people immediately recognize Chicago and think of a vibrant, progressive city. Say Michigan, and they think Detroit in ruins, then cars and automakers on the verge of bankruptcy.
So line up behind Chicago if you want to make a splash in the global marketplace -- that was the advice of Chicago author Richard Longworth last week to the Economic Club of Grand Rapids.
"West Michigan has more to do with Chicago than it does with Detroit or even Lansing," said Longworth, author of the book "Caught in the Middle: America's Heartland in the Age of Globalism."
Give up on the quaint idea of state identities, said Longworth, a senior fellow at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. "Globalization couldn't care less about state lines drawn two centuries ago.
"We're basically one economy, and we should be working together." More here.