I was watching Book TV on C-SPAN last week and I came upon Mr. Ha-Joon Chang talking about his book “23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism.” For example, Thing #1 is “there is no such thing as a free market.” I actually use this line in my finance and economics courses. read more »
Los Angeles today is a city in secular decline. Its current political leadership seems determined to turn the sprawling capitalist dynamo into a faux New York. But they are more likely to leave behind a dense, government-dominated, bankrupt, dysfunctional, Athens by the Pacific.
The greatness of Los Angeles stemmed from its willingness to be different. Unlike Chicago or Denver or New York, the Los Angeles metro area was designed not around a central core but on a series of centers, connected first by railcars and later by the freeways. The result was a dispersed metropolis where most people occupied single-family houses in middle-class neighborhoods. read more »
In recent years, homeowners have been made to feel a bit like villains rather than the victims of hard times, Wall Street shenanigans and inept regulators. Instead of being praised for braving the elements, suburban homeowners have been made to feel responsible for everything from the Great Recession to obesity to global warming. read more »
This piece originally appeared in the Village Voice.
After a charmed first decade in politics, Mayor Mike Bloomberg is mired in his first sustained losing streak.
His third term has been shaky, marked by the Snowpocalypse, the snowballing CityTime scandal, the backlash to Cathie Black and "government by cocktail party," and the rejection by Governor Andrew Cuomo of his plan to change how public-school teachers are hired and fired. With just a couple more years left in office, Bloomberg is starting to look every one of his 70 years.
Soon, he'll be just another billionaire. read more »
For well over a decade urban boosters have heralded the shift among young Americans from suburban living and toward dense cities. As one Wall Street Journal report suggests, young people will abandon their parents’ McMansions for urban settings, bringing about the high-density city revival so fervently prayed for by urban developers, architects and planners. read more »
During his Twitter-fed Town Hall, President Obama admitted that the housing market has proven one of the “most stubborn” pieces of the economic recovery puzzle to try and fix. The President --- as well the Congress and the building industry --- should consider a new path to a solution for housing by tapping the potential of the very generation whose votes brought Barack Obama into the White House in the first place. read more »
Last week’s disappointing job reports, with unemployment rising above 9%, only reinforced an emerging reality that few politicians, in either party, are ready to address. American society is becoming feudalized, with increasingly impregnable walls between the classes. This is ironic for a nation largely defined by its opportunity for upward mobility and fluid class structure. read more »
"Soaring" land and house prices "certainly represent the biggest single failure" of smart growth, which has contributed to an increase in prices that is unprecedented in history. This finding could well have been from our new The Housing Crash and Smart Growth, but this observation was made by one of the world's leading urbanologists, Sir Peter Hall, in a classic work 40 years ago. read more »
We used to call it “Free Agent Nation.” Now, it seems like the new term of art will be “The 1099 Economy.” While the names may change, they all point to a phenomenon of rising importance: the growing number of Americans who don’t have a “regular job” but instead work on individual contracts with employers or customers. These folks don’t get the traditional W-2 paystub at the end of the year; they report their taxes with the IRS form 1099. read more »
When the Base Realignment and Closure Commission was drawing up its list of military installations to close back in 2005, consultants assured the city of Grand Forks, North Dakota, that its Air Force base would be spared. Days before the list was made public, though, word leaked out that Grand Forks was on the chopping block, after all. read more »