Middle Class

Are We Unraveling?

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Is the fabric of society unraveling? That’s been a fear expressed throughout our history, and sometimes it has even been true (the Civil War comes to mind ). But our divisions have always healed over time. I would go so far as to say that nothing defines America more than its ability to absorb minority views, cultures, practices and peoples (a two-way street of acculturation by which outsiders are absorbed while the mainstream expands).   read more »

Manufacturing Stages A Comeback

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This year’s survey of the best cities for jobs contains one particularly promising piece of news: the revival of the country’s long distressed industrial sector and those regions most dependent on it. Manufacturing has grown consistently over the past 21 months, and now, for the first time in years, according to data mined by Pepperdine University’s Michael Shires, manufacturing regions are beginning to move up on our list of best cities for jobs.  read more »

Life and Death in the Labor Market

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The Wall Street Journal recently listed the Top 10 Dying Industries, via research firm IBISWorld. Some industries didn’t just see temporary decline during the recession – some won’t recover and will slowly (or quickly) disappear. IBISWorld’s data format is a little different than ours, and its categories are somewhat obscure, but we thought it would be interesting to pull together a similar table with the associated job data.  read more »

Getting Married Naked

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One of my girlfriends just invited me to attend her wedding ceremony next month. In our short conversation, I learned that she and her husband have already moved into their brand new, three-bedroom condo (we barely have any detached houses, called villas, in China), purchased a new car, and will have three separate wedding ceremonies: in the groom’s hometown, the bride’s hometown, and the city where they currently live. Based on this description, you are probably picturing a couple in their late 30s who must hold high-paying respectable jobs.  read more »

The Evolving Urban Form: Mumbai

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The continuing dispersion of international metropolitan areas is illustrated by recently released 2011 Census of India preliminary data for the Mumbai "larger" metropolitan area. The historical core, the "island" district of Mumbai (Inner Mumbai) lost population between 2001 and 2011, while all growth was in suburban areas outside the historic core.  read more »

The Problem With Megacities

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The triumphalism surrounding the slums and megacities frankly disturbs me. It is, of course, right to celebrate the amazing resilience of residents living in these cities’ massive slums. But many of the megacity boosters miss a more important point: that the proliferation of these sorts of communities may not be desirable or even necessary.  read more »

California: Club Med Meets Third World?

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On March 25th, the Bureau of Labor statistics released a report that showed that California jobs had increased by 96,000 in February.  The state’s cheerleaders jumped into action. Never mind that the state still has a 12.2 percent unemployment rate, and part of the decline from 12.4 percent is because just under 32,000 discouraged workers left California’s labor force in February.   read more »

Vietnam, No Longer an Underdeveloped Country

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The most recent estimates for 2010 indicate that Vietnam is no longer among the underdeveloped countries of the world and has moved onto the ranks of middle-income countries.  Financial remittances – better known as money being sent back to the home country – have lent a critical hand in accomplishing this major triumph in the country’s formerly depressed economy.

The influx of money by overseas Vietnamese, many of whom fled as political refugees, has dramatically changed the economic landscape of the country in terms of poverty levels and development.  read more »

Actually, Cities are Part of the Economy

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“The prosperity of our economy and communities is dependent on the political structures and mechanisms used to manage and coordinate our economic systems.”

No politician expecting to be taken seriously would say that today.  read more »

Energy Policy Reset: Forget Nuclear Reactors and Mideast Oil

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The two largest crises today — the Japanese nuclear disaster and the widening unrest in the Middle East — prove it’s time to de-fetishize energy policy. These serious problems also demonstrate why we must expand the nation’s ample oil and gas supplies — urgently.

The worsening Japanese nuclear crisis means, for all intents and purposes, that atomic power is, if not dead, certainly on a respirator.

Some experts may still make the case that nuclear power remains relatively safe. Some green advocates still tout its virtues for emitting virtually no greenhouse gases.  read more »