Blogs

Reforming Higher Education

For years, some justified high pay for college educated professionals because they served as a data base for certain types of knowledge – medicine, dentistry, pharmacy, law, accounting or any number of other disciplines taught at the college level. But with the advances in information technology and robotics, those salaries might not be justified in the near future. Information technology is currently forcing downsizing in the law sector, as fewer lawyers are needed to research cases or produce wills, trusts and divorce decrees.  read more »

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US Sets New House Size Record in 2012

There have been numerous press reports about the expansion of micro housing, and expectations that Americans will be reducing the size of their houses. As the nation trepidatiously seeks to emerge from the deepest economic decline since the 1930s, normalcy seems to be returning to US house sizes.  read more »

An Economics Lesson from The New York Times

The New York Times restates basic economics in a June 9 editorial that should be required reading for planners and public officials who fail to comprehend how restrictions on housing raise prices. The Times expressed concern about the extent to which investor involvement in some markets has raised the price of houses for new homebuyers and others who actually plan to live in the houses that they purchase.  read more »

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Canada’s Central Bank Issues Warning on Toronto Condominium Market

For a few years, concern has been expressed about house price increases in Canada, which have been disproportionate compared to household incomes.

In this regard, the latest, semi-annual Bank of Canada Financial System Review points to the overbuilt multi-unit market, especially the Toronto condominium market, as having the potential to inflict serious harm on the economy  read more »

East Coast, West Coast – What about Our Coast?

Most Americans take it as an article of faith that there’s a strong connection and relationship between the major cities of the East and West coasts.  Indeed, there may be 3,000 miles separating New York from Los Angeles, or San Francisco from Washington, but psychologically the cities each seem to be more connected to each other than, say, Dallas to New York or Atlanta to San Francisco.  Of course, in the minds of the coastal crowd, the rest of the nation has become “flyover” country.  That wasn’t always the case.  How exactly did that happen?  read more »

Subjects:

How Electricity and TV Diffused the "Population Bomb"

In the late sixties, India was the poster child of Third World poverty. In 1965, the monsoon rains failed to arrive, food production crashed, and much of the country was on the brink of starving. Asked for help, President Lyndon Johnson is reported to have told an aide, "I'm not going to piss away foreign aid in nations where they refuse to deal with their own population problems." Johnson came around, but by the end of the decade India was viewed in the West as, at best, a basket case and, at worst, a "population bomb" that threatened the entire planet.  read more »

A Toronto Condo Bubble?

Toronto has experienced a virtual explosion in high rise condominium construction in recent years, especially in the downtown area. According to Bloomberg, Toronto has the largest number of high-rise condominium towers under construction in the world.  read more »

9-Year Run: CEOs Rank Texas #1, California #50

Each year, chiefexecutive.net ranks states based upon their business competitiveness. The latest rankings have just been published in 2013: Best and Worst States for Business.

Texas on Top: For the 9th Year in a Row  read more »

Leaving Portlandia

There have been two universal reactions to my announcement that I was going to move from Portland to the Midwest: surprise and disbelief. But I also found a number of people who, if given a few moments to find clear and honest footing in the conversation, could see through the self-absorbed mental fog that covers the city in equal measure to the grey rain clouds and tells its inhabitants every day that Portland is the most amazing possible place in this country to live.  read more »

The 2012 Year in Unemployment

I recently looked at the changes in jobs in metro areas for 2012. Here’s a follow-on look at unemployment. First a look at the national unemployment rate picture, which has improved remarkably.  read more »