Economics

Silicon Valley's Useful Idiots

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Tech elites paid for the rope that may hang them.

The term “useful idiot,” often credited to Vladimir Lenin, applies to people supporting a cause or movement injurious to their own self-interest.  read more »

The Aging Car and Better Served Consumers

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Americans are keeping their cars a lot longer than before --- an awful lot longer. The first Nationwide Transportation Survey, in 1977, indicated that the average age of household vehicles was 6.4 years, while the average pickup truck or van was 5.6 years (Figure 1).  read more »

Transit Planners Want to Make Your Life Worse

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In our system of government, the public sector is, well, supposed to serve the public. But increasingly the bureaucracies at the state and local level increasingly seek to tell the public how to live, even if the result is to make life worse.

This became glaringly obvious recently, when the CEO of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, Phil Washington, reeling from data showing a steady drop of transit riders, decided that the only solution was to make driving worse.  read more »

The Real Conflict Is Not Racial or Sexual, It's Between The Ascendant Rich Elites and The Rest Of Us

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Despite the media’s obsession on gender, race and sexual orientation, the real and determining divide in America and other advanced countries lies in the growing conflict between the ascendant upper class and the vast, and increasingly embattled, middle and working classes. We’ve seen this fight before. The current conflict fundamentally reprises the end of the French feudal era, where the Third Estate, made up of the commoners, challenged the hegemony of the First Estate and Second, made up of the church and aristocracy.  read more »

Common Sense versus Climate Hysteria

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Whether it’s fires in California or Brazil, hurricanes like Dorian or your summer hot spell, it’s not just weather anymore but a sign of the impending apocalypse.

This specter of imminent demise tied to the everyday, notes one American Psychological Association study, has induced “stress, depression and anxiety” among a wide part of the population. The Congress’ leading green advocate, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, admits her climate concerns often wake her up at 3:30 in the morning.  read more »

High Metabolism Money

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As part of my usual exploration of towns and cities around the country I wander up and down streets taking photos. I have an inexhaustible supply of pictures of the generic American landscape. But every once in a while someone will come running out of a building demanding to know who I am and why I’m photographing their property. Bank managers are frequent objectors.  read more »

The Community and Economic Development Hierarchy

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Construction underway for a new 130,000 square foot shopping center located in Hollister, CA, May 17, 2019. Sadly, more communities want to see this than are actually able to have it. Source: sanbenito.com

I've spent many, many years of my career working to improve the economic development prospects of communities. Wanting to make a meaningful, positive contribution to the revitalization of cities is what pushed me into this career path. More to the point, I've spent a good deal of that time working in places that were facing stiff economic headwinds working against them.  read more »

Around San Francisco’s New South of Market Transit Center

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In the 1980s, the city of San Francisco experienced a strong reaction against continued development of its dense financial center skyscraper district north of Market Street. that the term Manhattanization was popularized by the alternative biweekly, San Francisco Bay Guardian, which channeled the interest of many residents to preserve both their neighborhood and the iconic, historic buildings in downtown San Francisco before they were replaced by new, taller structures.  read more »

Where Salaries Go Furthest in 2019: The Small-City Advantage

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Big cities are the engines of the modern economy. They offer workers a range of opportunities — and employers a range of workers, customers, and infrastructure — that smaller places generally can’t match. But when it comes to what many job seekers care about most, smaller cities often are best. In particular, for most jobs, salaries are higher in smaller places after accounting for the cost of living. 
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Decarbonization In Homes And Businesses At What Cost?

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The California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) plans to make all homes and businesses use electricity only means electricity will need to take up the duties that natural gas has been performing, and provide continuously uninterruptable power as California is on a path toward 100% renewables and “zero-carbon” sources in electricity by 2045.  read more »