Economics

Canada’s High Tech Leaders

iStock_000005642551XSmall.jpg

If you ask most Americans, or Canadians, for that matter, where Canadian high tech is concentrated, they will point you to the great metropolitan centers of Toronto and Montreal. But in reality the real centers of tech growth in Canada are concentrated elsewhere.  read more »

Canada’s Immigration Dilemma

iStock_000006561576XSmall.jpg

The subject of immigration in Canada presents a great dilemma for many Canadians. Like other countries of the western world, Canadians do not have enough children of their own to maintain the population at its present level. At the same time, the overall population, which is around 33 million, is getting older. Baby boomers are looking at retirement. Many calculate the amount of income they will need in order to maintain a decent standard of living. Their calculations include government pensions.  read more »

Financial Innovation: Wall Street’s False Utopia

iStock_000006077524XSmall.jpg

In the popular media much of the blame for the current crisis lies with sub-prime mortgages. Yet the main culprit was not the gullible homebuyer in Stockton or the seedy mortgage company. The real problem lay on Wall Street, and it’s addiction to ever more arcane financial innovation. As we try to understand the current crisis, and figure ways out of it, we need to understand precisely what, in the main, went wrong.  read more »

Mortgage Credit Crisis: Homeowners Also Need to Look in the Mirror

iStock_000005768107XSmall.jpg

There is more than enough blame to go around for the sub-prime mortgage crisis, and the unraveling financial disaster. But I believe the fundamental blame lies in two places: A purely American NIMBY myth about homeowners being the only genuine contributors to their communities and a capitalistic axiom, presumably started and perpetuated by a troika among realtors, homebuilders, and mortgage lenders, that the only way for middle-income Americans to truly create wealth is through homeownership.  read more »

The future of urban settlement? Look in the suburbs

iStock_000006617791XSmall.jpg

Let’s look at general urban settlement and suburbia from a geographic and demographic, not a planning or ideological viewpoint. There’s really no point to the fruitless and unscientific harangues about how people ought to live or about allegedly better or poorer forms of settlement.  read more »

Suburbs will decide the election

iStock_000003751876XSmall.jpg

By Joel Kotkin and Mark Schill

Suburbs may not have cooked up the mortgage crisis, but they absorbed much of initial damage. Now that Wall Street and the big cities are also taking the fall, suburbanites might feel a bit better — but there’s still lots of room for anger out in the land of picket fences, decent schools and shopping malls.  read more »

How Low Can House Prices Go?

price_reduced.jpg

There is much speculation among economists and others about how close we are to the bottom of the collapse of housing prices. This is, of course, an important question, and goes to the heart of the wisdom or folly of the proposed $700 billion government bailout of financial markets, which is a consequence of their own profligate lending practices.  read more »

How to Protect Main Street While Saving Wall Street

Victorian_Home_S.jpg

The current discussion in Washington can either lead to a rapid processing and recovery at the local level or a long drawn out destruction of local economies. This is particularly true of regions – Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Bernardino-Riverside, much of Florida – that have been hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis.  read more »

Rx for ‘Residential Renaissance:’ Take Two Years and Ease Up on the Hype

downtown_LA.jpeg

A big going-out-of-business sign on the Rite-Aid store at 7th and Los Angeles streets tells a bigger tale—a story I’ll call “Hype Happens.”

The Rite-Aid opened a few years ago with fanfare, arriving at just about the high-point of the hype over the “Residential Renaissance” of Downtown. Rite-Aid set up shop in the Santee Village project, an ambitious effort that saw a developer get plenty of help from various government agencies in order to convert a collection of mid-rise buildings from garment shops to residential lofts.  read more »

Back to Basics: The Financial Crisis Requires a Paradigm Shift

rebar.jpg

It’s tempting to look at the current financial meltdown – and the proposed bailout – with a Bolshevik mentality. Let’s line up the investment bankers, hedge fund managers up against a wall and spray them with an odorous substance.
If it were only so easy. Rescuing Wall Street may not solve many problems but letting the investor class implode won’t help many people either.  read more »