My April 9 Cross Country column commentary in The Wall Street Journal (California Declares War on Suburbia) outlined California's determination to virtually outlaw new detached housing. The goal is clear: force most new residents into multi-family buildings at 20 and 30 or more to the acre. read more »
Every now and then, some East Coast based publication sends a reporter out to California to see how the West Coast's economy is doing. I think they write these things sitting at a restaurant patio overlooking the Pacific Ocean. That can be seductive, and lulled into a comfortable sense that all is well with the world, the reporter always gets it wrong. read more »
What will become of today's middle class college students after they graduate? Opposing points of view come, on one side, from a voice of the education establishment, the American Association of Colleges & Universities (AACU), and on the other from rhetorical bomb thrower and author Aaron Clarey Worthless: The Young Person’s Indispensible Guide to Choosing the Right Major. read more »
Prior to the fifteenth century, China led the world in technological sophistication. Then, it went into a period of long decline. Here’s what Gregory Clark had to say about it in Farewell to Alms:
... When Marco Polo visited China in the 1290s he found that the Chinese were far ahead of the Europeans in technical prowess. Their oceangoing junks, for example, were larger and stronger than European ships. In them the Chinese sailed as far as Africa. read more »
It hurts. When a bigtime Harvard economist writes off your city as a loss, and says America should turn its back on you, it hurts. But Ed Glaeser’s dart tossing is but the smallest taste of what it’s like to live in place like Buffalo. To choose to live in the Rust Belt is to commit to enduring a continuous stream of bad press and mockery.
I write mostly about the Midwest, but whether we think Midwest or Rust Belt or something else altogether, the story is the same. From Detroit to Cleveland, Buffalo to Birmingham, there are cities across this country that are struggling for a host of historic and contemporary reasons. We’ve moved from the industrial to the global age, and many cities truly have lost their original economic raison d’etre. read more »
In January, The New York Times released a front-page report on the iEconomy, Apple’s vast and rapidly growing empire built on the production of tech devices almost exclusively overseas. The fascinating story created a wave of attention when it was published, and it’s back in the news after NPR’s “This American Life” retracted its story about working conditions at Foxconn, one of Apple’s key suppliers of iPhones and iPads. read more »
There has been news and conversation about economic inequality and economic growth lately, mostly because the former is increasing steadily and the latter has been less than stellar.
Of course, there is always a tension between economic growth and equality. Economic growth implies at least some inequality. That’s because most people need incentives to create things people value. They need a reward. Creating perfect equality necessarily eliminates incentives. read more »
While not immune to the recession, the upper Great Plains is in a different economic situation from the rest of the nation. Growth coupled with low unemployment means more strain on the region’s workforce, making it tougher for employers to find the workers they need. It's not so much about jobs anymore, but about finding the right workers. read more »
What’s clear, however, is certain states (think Indiana, Wisconsin, and Arkansas) depend on manufacturing to fuel their economies more than others. One way to measure just how dependent states are on manufacturing – rather than simply looking at total jobs or exports – is by looking at a common concentration measure known as location quotient (LQ). read more »
Throughout the brutal and agonizingly long recession, only one large metropolitan area escaped largely unscathed: Washington, D.C. The city that wreaked economic disasters under two administration last year grew faster in population than any major region in the country, up a remarkable 2.7 percent. The continued steady growth of the Texas cities, which dominated the growth charts over the past decade, pales by comparison. read more »