Economics

Is the California Dream Finished?

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For all the persistent rhetoric from California’s leaders about this state being on the cutting edge of social and racial justice, the reality on the ground is far grimmer.  read more »

How the Virus Is Pushing America Toward a Better Future

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Pessimism is the mood of the day, with 80 percent of Americans saying the country is generally out of control. Even before civil unrest and pestilence, most Americans believed our country was in decline, Pew reported, with a shrinking middle class, increased indebtedness and growing polarization.  read more »

Triumph of the Oligarchs

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A new class of overlords are making their bid for world domination.

The Coronavirus has trammeled the prospects of most Americans, particularly low-income workers. But for one small group, the pandemic has proved something like manna from heaven. Already ascendant beforehand, the tech oligarchy—a relatively small number of companies, venture, and private equity funds—are riding the current crisis to unprecedented dominion over our ever-weakening Republic.  read more »

The Downwardly Mobile: How Some People Lose Class Privilege

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We have two narratives about class in this country. Perhaps the most prominent is the American Dream – the idea that hard work and moral fortitude can lead people from rages to riches. The second is that of the rigged class system, one designed to ensure that the privileged remain privileged while the poor remain poor.  read more »

Subjects:

What's So Magic About $1 Trillion

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News reports say that the Trump Administration is going to propose a $1 trillion infrastructure plan to “boost the economy.” One writer says it will not only promote recovery but also help the environment.  read more »

The Disparate Impact of California Climate Policies

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To the detriment of those that can least afford expensive energy, California climate policies have driven up the cost of electricity and fuels to be among the highest in the country. The cost burdens of those policies may be fueling (no pun intended) the basis of a rebellion as the state’s climate policies discriminate against minority and low-income consumers.  read more »

Feudalism and Stagnation in South Africa

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As I am writing this article, South Africa is predicted, following the coronavirus crises, to have an unemployment rate of 50% i.e. 1 in 2 working adults .The country’s lockdown has now been longer than the one in authoritarian China and to make matters worse, South Africa’s credit rating has been recently downgraded by agencies such as Fitch, Standard and Poor, and Moody’s.  read more »

The Green Civil War

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Like many contemporary social movements—#metoo, Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March—the environmental lobby has tended to create an atmosphere of unanimity. In its struggle to win public and elite opinion, it has frequently evoked “science” as something settled and immutable, warning that those who dissent are either self-serving or seriously deranged.  read more »

Employment by CIty Sector, Challenges Ahead for Downtowns

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New Census Bureau employment data indicates that most job creation in the nation’s 53 major metropolitan areas (over 1,000,000 population) continues to be in the suburbs and exurbs. This article describes employment (job) locations by urban sector, using the City Sector Model (described in the Note Figure 4, below). The source of the data is “County Business Patterns, which is published annually for every zip code in the nation, which is unlike the American Community Survey, which uses a five-year period to cover all areas of the nation.  read more »

Neo-Feudalism in California

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From the beginning, California promised much. While yet barely a name on the map, it entered American awareness as a symbol of renewal. It was a final frontier: of geography and of expectation.
—Kevin Starr, Americans and the California Dream: 1850–1915  read more »