Demographics

The Glory—and Risk—of Cities

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The glory of cities is to serve as places of interaction between people and economies. Yet throughout history—from Roman times to the present—this advantage has also entailed exposure to deadly contagions.  read more »

Majority of COVID-19 Deaths in Nursing Homes: New Report

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According to The Washington Post (May 6) “Expert say — and initial reports from European countries suggest — once the pandemic has subsides, roughly half of all deaths may be found  read more »

Subjects:

Deindustrialization as a Template for COVID-19

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As we wrote in Steeltown USA: Work and Memory in Youngstown, Youngstown’s story is America’s story, and that city offers a useful case study for anyone trying to imagine American life after the pandemic. No doubt, coronavirus is a natural disaster that is more contagious, widespread, and deadly than the economic disaster of deindustrialization.  read more »

Rethinking the Social Safety Net

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The COVID-19 epidemic wreaked havoc on the majority of American households. The USC Dornsife poll reported on April 17th that 15% of previously employed people in the country have lost their jobs because of the virus. That translates into close to 26 million newly unemployed. While many of those jobs will come back once we get through this, I do not think all of them will. Future social distancing rules will, for instance, limit the number of patrons a restaurant or a bar can serve. Fewer customers means fewer employees to serve them.  read more »

Letter from Los Angeles: The Death of Small Business is a Tragedy for Jewish Community and Democracy

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“Small-scale commercial production is, every moment of every day, giving birth spontaneously to capitalism and the bourgeoisie…wherever there is small business and freedom of trade, capitalism appears.”— V.I. Lenin  read more »

Coronavirus and the Future of Work

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The long-term effects of the coronavirus outbreak on our society and business landscape are yet to be determined. But one thing we know is that a big swath of American businesses is conducting a large-scale experiment with remote work (aka work from home). Many of them have also made large investments in infrastructure to support it; one company bought 20,000 laptops for their employees, for example. The coronavirus shutdown will create new capabilities for remote work within firms large and small, and produce a treasure trove of findings about what works well and what doesn’t.  read more »

Varieties of Exposure Density: A California Perspective

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A reader forwarded me an analysis of COVID-19 cases analyzed by the population density of California’s counties. The analysis had the concept right — if an infection is spread person to person, as in the case of COVID-19, then population density is likely to be an important “seeding” factor. That is there is virtually universal agreement that we need to practice social distancing of 6 feet or two meters to minimize the spread.  read more »

The Phone Call May Be Considered Old Fashioned, But Young Americans Are Chatting Up a Storm

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In light of physical distancing in the Covid-19 era and the widely recognized import of keeping connections for both mental and social health, the New York Times ran a piece with the headline “I Just Called to Say … the Phone Call Is Back.” In the piece, the author not only argues that Americans need to use the phone in our current moment in time as the “warm timbre of a human voice in your ear is more real, more present, than text on a screen” but also that “younger generations ha  read more »

Subjects:

The Dots of Connectivity and Broken Cultural Links

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"We won," the messenger announced, and then collapsed, and so becoming the most renowned victim of connectivity, spearheading the Marathon legacy. Pheidippides' death encapsulates the quest for and risks of connectivity; we see it as tragic and unnecessary because we now take it for granted that a message and its messenger can be separated. But when the message is the messenger, as in, reporting for work, the risk is real, witnessed by over a million annual road deaths globally as well as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  read more »

The Coronavirus is Changing the Future of Home, Work, and Life

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The COVID-19 pandemic will be shaping how we live, work and learn about the world long after the last lockdown ends and toilet paper hoarding is done, accelerating shifts that were already underway including the dispersion of population out of the nation’s densest urban areas and the long-standing trend away from mass transit and office concentration towards flatter and often home-based employment.   read more »