Policy

Sweden: A Role Model for Capitalist Reform?

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Sweden is often held up as a role model for those wishing to expand the size of government in the U.S. and other nations. The nation is seen as combining a large public sector with many attractive features, such as low crime rates, high life expectancy and a high degree of social cohesion.

But in actuality the success of the Swedish society lies not with the extent of its welfare state, but as the result of cultural and demographic factors as well as a favourable business environment throughout most of Sweden's modern history.  read more »

Will the Last Family Leaving Seattle Please Turn out the Lights?

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New Census data for the Seattle area's population changes, 2000-2010, permit a preliminary look at age and at types of households in the region. Let's look at patterns of geographic variation in selected age groups and household types for places in greater Seattle. It provides more evidence for how rapidly Seattle in particular is changing in fundamental ways.  read more »

Why Compact Cities Aren't so Smart

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I was interested to read the views of Rick Boven of the New Zealand Institute about central and local government needing to resolve their differences about the future of Auckland.  Well, they have worked on that since the establishment of GUEDO in 2005 (now the Auckland Policy Office).   read more »

Education as an Export

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A trade deficit is a negative balance between a nation’s imports and its exports, so a country with a trade deficit is spending more on imports than it is receiving for selling its exports. Is there any more that can be done to reduce this deficit over the course of time? One potential solution the US trade deficit would be to increase the attractiveness of its higher education institutions to international students, and to therefore increase the amount of money coming into the country. Money from abroad that is spent in the US, such as on tourism, or in this case, on education, is considered an export.  read more »

USA: A Net Exporter of Natural Gas?

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Less than a decade ago, major American energy companies were investing billions in constructing new terminals for importing liquefied natural gas — the cooled, dense state of methane that makes it economical for it to be transported by ship. Today, some of those same companies are contemplating spending billions to retrofit those facilities in order to export LNG.  read more »

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Orlando: Uncle Sam Meets Mickey Mouse

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Hawks and doves disagree on whether World War II ended the Great Depression.  Depending on which species of bird squawks louder, military spending may be the only way out of our current financial malaise.  In many ways it is already happening, although it is a surreptitious and quiet influence felt mostly in the high-tech economic sector.  Defense growth in one of the most unlikely places – Orlando, Florida – has already begun to diversify the region’s income stream, create a new urban c  read more »

The Katrina Effect: Renaissance On The Mississippi

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In this most insipid of recoveries, perhaps the most hopeful story comes from New Orleans. Today, its comeback story could serve as a model of regional recovery for other parts of the country — and even the world.

You could call it the Katrina effect. A lovely city, rich in history, all too comfortable with its fading elegance and marred by huge pockets of third-world style poverty, suffers a catastrophic natural disaster; in the end the disaster turns into an opportunity for the area’s salvation.  read more »

Recover, Rebuild: Christchurch New Zealand After the Earthquake

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Lincoln University in New Zealand did a great job of assembling some leaders in the principles and practice of disaster recovery for its Resilient Futures workshop recently in support of recovery in Christchurch after the February earthquake.  And in keeping with one of the themes – the importance of quality and timely communications – the papers and summary are already posted on the web.  read more »

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Goodbye, New York State Residents are Rushing for the Exits

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For more than 15 years, New York State has led the country in domestic outmigration: for every American who comes to New York, roughly two depart for other states. This outmigration slowed briefly following the onset of the Great Recession. But a new Marist poll released last week suggests that the rate is likely to increase: 36 percent of New Yorkers under 30 are planning to leave over the next five years.  read more »

Diagnosing New Inflation Symptoms

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It's been more than three years since the Great Recession began, and it's no longer debatable that the federal spending in its wake did not provoke inflation. Years of forecasts by fiscal conservatives about the result of government expenditures have proved to be wrong. After three fiscal stimulus packages, core inflation — which excludes the volatile prices of oil and commodities— remains very much in check. The core rate is the most reliable guide to future inflation, and it has not trended upward.

Headline inflation, however, the rate that does include these two, has increased. Is the recent uptick in gas and food prices a game-changer on inflation?  read more »