"Privileged people don't march and protest; their world is safe and clean and governed by laws designed to keep them happy. I had never taken to the streets before; why bother? And for the first block or two I felt odd, walking in a mass of people, holding a stick with a placard..." Michael Brock in John Grisham's The Street Lawyer (Doubleday, 1998). read more »
Which would you rather have in the view from your house? A thing about the size of a domestic garage, or eight towers twice the height of Nelson’s column with blades noisily thrumming the air. The energy they can produce over ten years is similar: eight wind turbines of 2.5-megawatts (working at roughly 25% capacity) roughly equal the output of an average Pennsylvania shale gas well (converted to electricity at 50% efficiency) in its first ten years. read more »
Over the past decade Los Angeles has steadily declined. It currently has one of the the highest unemployment rates (roughly 12.5%) in the U.S, and there’s little sign of a sustained recovery. The city and county have become a kind of purgatory for all but the most politically connected businesses, while job creation and population growth lag not only the vibrant Texas cities but even aged competitors such as New York. read more »
Righteous cries of outrage and anger dominate Florida these days, as unreasonable assaults upon common sense seem to roll with regularity out of the governor’s office. Recently, Governor Scott published a list of Florida’s higher education faculty, matching salaries to names. This act was disingenuously styled as an effort towards transparency, but it was really a good old-fashioned right-wing poke at the eggheads. read more »
The nation’s unemployment rate has been hovering at nearly nine percent since 2009. But not every state is suffering an employment crisis. In the remote, windswept state of North Dakota, job fairs often bustle with more recruiters than potential workers. The North Dakota unemployment rate hasn’t risen above five percent since 1987. In the state's oil country, unemployment hovers at around two percent, and pretty much everyone who wants a job—as long as they are old enough and not incarcerated—is employed. read more »
For many conservatives, the notion of class warfare that President Barack Obama now evokes is both un-American and noxious — a crass attempt to cash in on envy among the masses. Yet the problem is not in class warfare itself — but in being clear what class you are targeting. read more »
Even before Steve Jobs crashed the scene in late 1970s, California’s technology industry had already outpaced the entire world, creating the greatest collection of information companies anywhere. It was in this fertile suburban soil that Apple — and so many other innovative companies — took root.
Now this soil is showing signs of exhaustion, with Jobs’ death symbolizing the end of the state’s high-tech heroic age. read more »
Chan Koonchung’s chilling science fiction novel The Fat Years — already an underground sensation in China — will be published in the U.S. January 2012. The book, first published in Hong Kong in 2009, is partly so chilling because it reveals a scenario that is all too plausible. Set in 2013, it takes place after a second financial crisis (euros, anyone?) that all but destroys the Anglo-American economies and ushers in “China’s golden age of ascendancy.”
The nation that leads the world in The Fat Years is less bleakly dystopian than the Stalinist state portrayed in George Orwell’s 1984 or the biologically controlled society of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. Yet it is supremely authoritarian — harassing and even executing the rare dissident and putting drugs in the water supply to inflate a sense of well-being among the masses. read more »
Few would argue that STEM-educated workers are vital to advancing innovative ideas and new products. But here’s another fact borne out by labor market data: The regions with the strongest presence of STEM-related employment are heavily dependent on government funding. read more »
In his new book, The Coming Jobs War, Gallup CEO James Clifton defines what he calls an “all-out global war for good jobs.” Clifton envisions a world-wide struggle for new, steady employment, with the looming threat of “suffering, instability, chaos and eventually revolution” for those who fail to secure new economic opportunities.
In the U.S., this conflict can be seen as a kind of new war battle the states, each fighting not only for employment but for jobs that pay enough to support a middle-class lifestyle. read more »