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According to the 1990 U.S. Census, this small town in the middle of nowhere is actually the middle of the middle. That is, Cuba represents the statistical middle of America in terms of population distribution.

In December of 2000, the NPR program Marketplace chose to do a series of reports on Cuba (population 2537) to determine the truth of the maxim that globalization is a local phenomenon.

Cuba sits along historic Route 66, and is one of those blurred middle-America towns that you drive by on a road trip without noticing much, if at all. It sports the trademark greasy diner, the $15 a night motel, a water tower proudly painted with the town's name, and local heroes in the form of high school football players.

The show's host, David Brancaccio, talked to a number of local entrepreneurs about the impact of global markets on their small-town businesses. His guests included the woman who had been the last employee of the once-booming shoe factory in town (a NAFTA victim), the owner of an ostrich ranch (who bemoaned the Australian government dumping ostrich leather on the market at a loss), and the president of a local barrel-making factory (who enjoys a good business selling oak casks to French winemakers).

The show went pretty light on the Hee Haw factor and did a decent job exploring their premise. They went into the history of the town's failed industries over the past hundred years, including paper mills, railroads, plastic factories, and shoe factories, examining the effects that treaties like NAFTA and other economic policies have had on the local economy.

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