Economics

Cities Could Use More People Who Care Less

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I wrote my latest piece about Providence, but it could apply to a lot of cities. It’s a bit of a contrarian take on civic engagement. For some people, too much civic engagement can result in a fixation on problems, which then turns them negative on the community. This makes the grass look greener in other places. Whereas if they just enjoyed the good things about a city instead of worrying about civic challenges, they might enjoy life more and be more likely to stay. Here’s an excerpt:  read more »

The Once-Lucky Country

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Few places on earth are better suited for middle-class prosperity than Australia. From early in its history, when it was a refuge for British convicts, the vast, resource-rich country has provided an ideal environment for upward mobility, from the pioneering ranches of the nineteenth century to the middle-class suburbs of the late twentieth. Journalist Donald Horne described Australia in 1964 as “a lucky country run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck.”  read more »

The Challenges of Organizing “Gig” Workers

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When we think about organizing precarious “gig” workers, the task seems biblical. The workers may be ready, or not, but the spirit and the flesh are weak. We all bemoan the rise of gig workers. Low pay, few hours, no benefits are some of them, worsened by the uncertainty of a position where you can only work to deliver something being demanded by consumers at a premium you are powerless to control.  read more »

Our Suicidal Elites

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The French nobility, observed Tocqueville in The Ancien Regime and The Revolution, supported many of the writers whose essays and observations ended up threatening “their own rights and even their existence.” Today we see much the same farce repeated, as the world’s richest people line up behind causes that, in the end, could relieve them of their fortunes, if not their heads.  read more »

Transit in Los Angeles: Lost Opportunities

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Low fares and more bus service, rather than urban rail, is the key to improving transit ridership in Los Angeles. That conclusion can be easily drawn from a recent installment of transportation consultant Thomas A. Rubin and Professor James E. Moore II in their series on transit in Los Angeles. This article covers Improving Bus Service and Reducing Fares have Greatly Increased Transit Use in Los Angeles as part of a series entitled A Critical Review of Los Angeles Metro’s 28 by 2028 Plan being published by the Reason Foundation and its earlier installments were covered in a previous New Geography article.  read more »

Denver’s Subsidized Housing Scheme Gets It Wrong On Affordability

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Thanks to an urban-growth boundary, Denver has a housing affordability problem. Apartment rents have increased by 65 percent in the last decade, while the nationwide cost of living in that time rose by just 18 percent and rents nationwide increased by an average of 28 percent.  read more »

The Nation’s Worst Transit Agencies

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The Antiplanner has often called San Jose’s Valley Transit Authority (VTA) the nation’s worst transit agency (with some competition from DC Metro). It would be nice, however, to confirm that with hard data. The question is what are the best ways to measure agency performance?  read more »

Russia’s Not-So-Secret Plan To Control The World’s Energy

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If you haven’t been paying attention, and you should have, the balance of power energy-wise has shifted. Today, the U.S.A., Russia, and Saudi Arabia are neck and neck in oil production. The other OPEC countries, Iraq, Iran, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Venezuela, Nigeria, Angola, and Algeria together run a close second.  read more »

America’s Future Depends on the Bedroom, Not the Border

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With a historically low unemployment rate, America is running low on workers in everything from high-tech to construction, manufacturing and services as Donald Trump’s stronger immigration policies help raise wages for existing US workers, from the lowest paid to well-paid construction workers, for the first time in decades.  read more »

A What If - The Chicago White Sox and Armour Field

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(In the mid-1980's the Chicago White Sox were struggling on many levels -- to win on the field, to excite a fan base, and to upgrade their old home ballpark. That spurred them to push for a stadium deal either in the Chicago area or elsewhere. The Sox nearly moved to suburban Addison until the promise of a new stadium was narrowly defeated in a referendum, and nearly moved to Tampa Bay until the Illinois State Assembly intervened. That deal brought us the Guaranteed Rate Field the Sox have today, which opened in 1991.  read more »