Economics

U.S. Cities Have A Glut Of High-Rises And Still Lack Affordable Housing

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Perhaps nothing thrills mayors and urban boosters like the notion of endless towers rising above their city centers. And to be sure, new high-rise residential construction has been among the hottest areas for real estate investors, particularly those from abroad, with high-end products accounting for 8o% of all new construction.

Yet this is not an entirely high-end country, and these products, particularly the luxury high-rises in cities, largely depend on a small segment of the population that can afford such digs.  read more »

Post-Work Won’t Work

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Proposals to institute a basic income are increasingly popular, especially in Silicon Valley. Philippe Van Parijs and Yannick Vanderborght make their case for it in Basic Income: A Radical Proposal for a Free Society and a Sane Economy. A basic income—an annual, unconditional cash grant to every adult, regardless of need, and without a work requirement to obtain it—would be non-taxable and total about 25 percent of GDP.  read more »

Changing the Narrative in Cleveland

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Cleveland, like many Rust Belt cities, has both an image and a self-image problem. Its residents have simultaneously had passion and loyalty for the city, while also being filled with shame about it and relentlessly negative and fatalistic about its future. Again, this is something that is the case for any number of places.  read more »

A Different Kind of Border Wall

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To slow mass migration, stop the illicit capital flight from poor to rich countries.

An asset manager called ____ Capital recently sent out this email seeking referrals:  read more »

A New Way Forward on Trade and Immigration

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President Donald Trump’s policy agenda may seem somewhat incoherent, but his underlying approach — developed, in large part, by now-departed chief strategist Steve Bannon — can be best summarized in one word: nationalism. This covers a range of issues from immigration and trade to cultural and ethnic identity, and generally the ones with the most polarizing impact on our political system.  read more »

The Precariat Shoppe

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The precariat is a term coined to describe the segment of the population that lives without security or predictability. These days it often refers to the former American middle class that’s currently experiencing reduced circumstances. There’s always been a precariat, but it usually includes a minor subset of the population that no one really likes or cares about. Indentured Irish servants, black slaves, Jewish and Italian sweatshop workers, Mexican field hands, Puerto Rican cleaning ladies… It’s a long list.  read more »

Smaller American Cities Need to Focus on Private Sector Job Growth Downtown

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I’m back from a short break. While I was away my debut contribution to City Lab was published. In it I argue that the next frontier for smaller cities (meaning metros in the 1-3 million raise) in their downtown development efforts needs to be a focus on growing private sector jobs.  read more »

Forget the Urban Stereotypes: What Millennial America Really Looks Like

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Perhaps no generation has been more spoken for than millennials. In the mainstream press, they are almost universally portrayed as aspiring urbanistas, waiting to move into the nation’s dense and expensive core cities.

Yet like so many stereotypes — often created by wishful thinking — this one is generally exaggerated and even essentially wrong. We now have a solid 15 years of data on the growth of young people ages 20-34, from 2000 to 2015, which covers millennials over the time they entered college, got their first jobs and, in some cases, started families.  read more »

Postcards From the Zombie Apocalypse

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I’m regularly accused of being a doomer whenever I point out the obvious – that many aspects of how we’ve organized our affairs over the last several decades aren’t meant to last. So they won’t. The end of Jiffy Lube and Lean Cuisine isn’t The End. Civilization will carry on without them, I assure you. But when it’s suggested that our current set of arrangements won’t last forever people immediately imagine Mad Max, as if no other alternative exists. Things are going to change. They always have and they always will.  read more »

Ontario’s Labor & Housing Policies: US Midwest Opportunities?

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The Globe and Mail, a Canadian national newspaper, reports concerns raised by Magna International, Inc. that proposed provincial labor legislation (the “Fair Workplaces Better Jobs Act”) could result in seriously reduced economic competitiveness for Ontario, Canada’s most populous province (“Magna says new Ontario labour bill threatens jobs, investment”).  read more »