Economics

Gas Against Wind

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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 »

Political Footballs: L.A.'s Misguided Plans For A Downtown Stadium

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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 »

Florida Gets Dragged Into the 21st Century

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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 »

HELP WANTED: The North Dakota Boom

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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 »

Obama's Off-target Class War

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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 »

Silicon Valley Can No Longer Save California -- Or The U.S.

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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 »

Are We Headed For China's Fat Years?

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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 »

States with Largest Presence of STEM-Related Jobs

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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 »

Gassing Up: Why America's Future Job Growth Lies In Traditional Energy Industries

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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 »

First Step for California: Admit There's a Problem

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The October 29, 2009 issue of Time Magazine had an article titled “Why California is America’s Future.”  I sure hope not.  California is fast becoming a post-industrial hell for almost everyone except the gentry class, their best servants, and the public sector.

We only need a few numbers to demonstrate that California is clearly on the wrong track:  read more »