American Futures

James Fallows, national correspondent, The Atlantic

Deborah Fallows, author

The Atlantic magazine’s print on online outlets

Public Radio’s Marketplace and Kai Ryssdal

Esri, a mapping software company in Redlands, CA


Alexis de Toqueville. Lewis & Clark. John Steinbeck. The American concept of the ‘road trip’ extends from social critics to geographic pioneers to literary giants. And in that tradition, James Fallows is partnering with The Atlantic and the software company Esri, on a trip through the American economy – by plane. Flying into regional airports in small towns across the country reveals what we all know: The American economy isn't all multinational corporations and monetary policy and Wall Street. It's what's happening with people and small businesses in towns and cities all over the country.


James Fallows,The Atlantic’s national correspondent, and his wife, author Deborah Fallows, are traveling from one small-town airport to the next in their propeller-driven Cirrus SR-22. At key moments Marketplace and Kai Ryssdal will travel with them as they report on the ways immigration is transforming communities across America; how both new and established businesses have found ways to serve global customers from small towns; and how certain cities are making themselves centers of innovation.