Middle Class

De-Industrialization and the Displaced Worker

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Much has been made of working class pain in this election, but the problems go well beyond that.  I don’t like the 1% vs. 99% frame, but it captures something important about our society, namely a sort of bifurcation that has occurred between top and bottom. Roughly the top 20% are doing quite well, and increasingly live in communities surrounded by others like themselves. The bottom 80% does not seem to be faring so well on a variety of social and economic statistics.  read more »

Scandinavian Women Do Well, Except at the Top

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In which part of the world should we expect most women to reach the top? The answer has to be the Nordic countries. According to The Global Gender Gap report, for example, Iceland is the most gender equal country in the world followed by Norway, Finland and Sweden. Yet as I will discuss below, this has not translated in women making it to “the top”, as one might expect. This a paradox that I will seek to address.  read more »

Manhattan Ultra-Luxury ‘Battling the Serpent of Chaos’

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The deceleration of China and resulting commodities crash have created a problem for developers of ultra luxury condominiums.

The ancient Egyptians believed that the sky was a solid dome, the belly of the goddess Nut who arched her body from one side of the horizon to the other. Every day, the sun god Ra emerged in the east and sailed in his boat across the sky until dusk when he disappeared in the west by dipping below the surface of Nun, the ocean upon which the whole flat earth floated.  read more »

Black Residents Matter

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Black lives matter, we’re told—but in many American cities, black residents are either scarce or dwindling in number, chased away by misguided progressive policies that hinder working- and middle-class people. Such policies more severely affect blacks than whites because blacks start from further behind economically. Black median household income is only $35,481 per year, compared with $57,355 for whites.  read more »

Millennial Home Ownership: Disappointment Ahead in Some Places?

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Millennial renters overwhelmingly plan on buying their own homes, though affording them could be far more challenging than they think. This is an important conclusion from a renters’ survey by apartmentlist.com, an apartment search website (See: The Affordability Crisis: Are Millennials Destined to be Renters?).  read more »

Class and the EU referendum

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On June 23rd, voters in the UK get a say on whether to remain in the European Union (EU). The UK first joined what was then called the European Economic Community (EEC) back in 1973, and in a 1975 vote, 67% voted to stay in the EEC. The issue was fairly settled until Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, under pressure from the right wing of his party and anti EU sentiment, promised an in/out referendum in the Party’s manifesto for last year’s General election.  read more »

Geography and the Minimum Wage

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Most commentary on California’s decision to increase the state minimum wage to $15 over time is either along the lines of it being a boon to minimum-wage workers and their families or a disaster for California’s economy.  Neither is accurate.  Different regions sill see different outcomes.  Central California, the great valley that runs from Bakersfield to Redding, once again, will bear a disproportionate burden.   read more »

Aristocracy of Talent: Social Mobility Is the Silver Lining to America’s Inequality Crisis

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Yes, wealth concentration is insane. But the ways in which wealth is shifting are surprising—and give reason for a little optimism.

In an age of oligarchy, one should try to know one’s overlords—how they made their money, and where they want to take the country. By looking at the progress of the super-rich --- in contrast with most of us --- one can see the emerging and changing dynamics of American wealth.  read more »

Trumpism: America’s Berlusconi Moment

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Trump envisioned and created today’s city of white boxes for rootless new money types, who dominate the city even as they leave little mark here.

An old joke—that in heaven, the Italians do the cooking; in hell, they run the government—feels a lot darker now that American politics are taking an Italian turn.  read more »

What Happens When Walmart Dumps You

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The first knock on Walmart was that it gutted the mom-and-pop businesses of small-town America. So what happens to those towns when Walmart decides to leave?

What is the future of American retail? The keys might be found not only in the highly contested affluent urban areas but also in the countryside, which is often looked down upon and ignored in discussion of retail trends.  read more »