Economics

The globalization debate is just beginning

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The decisive victory of Emmanuel Macron for president of France over Marine Le Pen is being widely hailed as a victory of good over evil, and an affirmation of open migration flows and globalization. Certainly, the defeat of the odious National Front should be considered good news, but the global conflict over trade and immigration has barely begun.  read more »

Guaranteed Minimum What?

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I was on the road a while back and needed to stop to use the facilities. A chain restaurant on the side of the highway seemed like a reasonable spot. As I headed to the men’s room I noticed iPads on all the tables. These are the new electronic menus. They don’t replace wait staff, but they do make the whole process of ordering food more efficient with a likely reduction in the overall number of humans needed to do the same amount of work. And there are all the other benefits that come with data mining and systems optimization. The global supply chain managers must love it.  read more »

The Springfield Strategy

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I just enjoyed an adventure in Springfield, Massachusetts with Steve Shultis and his wife Liz of Rational Urbanism. Steve does a far better job of describing his town and his philosophy than I ever could, but my interpretation can be summed up with an analogy about an old college room mate.  read more »

Father of the Bernie Sanders Presidency

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President Trump’s elite-managed populism opens a path for a more genuine version.  read more »

California Squashes Its Young

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In this era of anti-Trump resistance, many progressives see California as a model of enlightenment. The Golden State’s post-2010 recovery has won plaudits in the progressive press from the New York Times’s Paul Krugman, among others. Yet if one looks at the effects of the state’s policies on key Democratic constituencies— millennials, minorities, and the poor—the picture is dismal. A recent United Way study found that close to one-third of state residents can barely pay their bills, largely due to housing costs. When adjusted for these costs, California leads all states—even historically poor Mississippi—in the percentage of its people living in poverty.  read more »

America the Cheap

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America is a price dominant culture, and we need to take responsibility for that when we complain about bad customer service, poor infrastructure, etc. Certainly American business and political leadership could be better, but they aren’t the ones who decided to shop at Wal-Mart instead of the local store (favoring short term financial gain over long term community loss). Nor are they the ones who force us to vote for politicians promising something for nothing.  read more »

The Jungle

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Upton Sinclair’s 1906 novel The Jungle was intended to inform the larger American public of the miserable working environment and sub survival wages of Chicago’s meat packing employees. The popular response was huge and lead to new government agencies and protections, but not the kind Sinclair had hoped for. By describing the dangerous and unhealthy conditions in slaughterhouses he meant to elicit sympathy for the workers who were denied adequate pay and were routinely maimed or killed on the job with no recourse to improved safety, medical care, or compensation.  read more »

The Politics of Migration: From Blue to Red

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Democratic “blue” state attitudes may dominate the national media, but they can’t yet tell people where to live. Despite all the hype about a massive “back to the city” movement and the supposed superiority of ultra-expensive liberal regions, people are increasingly moving to red states and regions, as well as to suburbs and exurbs.  read more »

Leaving California? After slowing, the trend intensifies

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Given its iconic hold on the American imagination, the idea that more Americans are leaving California than coming breaches our own sense of uniqueness and promise. Yet, even as the economy has recovered, notably in the Bay Area and in pockets along the coast, the latest U.S. Census Bureau estimates show that domestic migrants continue to leave the state more rapidly than they enter it.  read more »

Deindustrialisation in Sydney

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According to property analysts CoreLogic, the Sydney median vacant land selling price has hit $450,000, a massive 20.5 per cent higher than the same time last year.  read more »