Politics

Thoughts on AI: Some High-Probability Predictions on a Very Uncertain Future

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Will AI cause mass unemployment?

No. New technologies have always enabled the economy to produce existing products with fewer workers, freeing up people’s resources for new products and freeing up workers to produce them. Farm automation reduced agricultural work as a share of the labor force from 38 percent in 1900 to two percent today, and we produce more food than ever. Education, recreation, and healthcare, which absorbed a tiny share of household spending in 1900, now account for almost half our spending and many millions of jobs.   read more »

The Triumph Of Trumpism Will Outlast Trump

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Given the endless scandals swarming around him, Donald Trump’s presidency may prove, to quote Thomas Hobbes, to be “nasty, brutish and short.” But even if Trump ends up out of office sooner than planned, we will continue to live in a world shaped by him for years to come.  read more »

Restoring Localism

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Americans are increasingly prisoners of ideology, and our society is paying the price. We are divided along partisan lines to an extent that some are calling it a “soft civil war.” In the end, this benefits only ideological warriors and their funders.  read more »

California Takes The Prize For Environmental Virtue Signaling — But Not Much Else

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If there’s an award for environmental virtue signaling, California would win the prize. Yet for all the constant self-promotion, shameless grandstanding and endless moralizing, perhaps it’s time to reconsider the impact, and failures, of our current green obsessions.  read more »

How We Lit The Fuse On The Population Bomb

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We’ve been here before – concerns about our capacity to house a large population are not new. But lately, hostility to rapid rates of population growth is gaining traction. There have been calls for a population inquiry and former PM Hon Tony Abbott has called for immigration (and hence population growth) to be slashed. He joins a chorus of other voices, from business to community groups. Voters are pushing back against growth and political leaders are feeling the pressure.  read more »

European Commission Exaggerates Urbanization

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Urban planners long have been concerned about “urban sprawl,” despite never having settled on a term that excludes any urbanization, even the densest in the world. But the European Commission (EC) has taken exaggerating about urban sprawl to a new level.  read more »

‘Chinafornia’ And Global Trade In Age Of Trump

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One of the last regions settled en masse by Europeans, California’s trajectory long has been linked to its partners across the Pacific. Yet these ties could be deeply impacted by President Trump’s immigration and trade policies, as well as resulting blowback by the authoritarian regime in Beijing.  read more »

The New-McCarthyism Of Our Censorious Age

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“If my thought dreams could be seen

They’d probably put my head in a guillotine” — Bob Dylan, “It’s All Right Ma”, 1965

We live in a newly censorious age, where old crudities are never forgotten. To be sure, there are some clear malefactors, like Harvey Weinstein and many others, who should be punished to the extent of the law, but there’s clearly a distinct danger to free expression as the emboldened thought police steadily expand their domain.  read more »

Self-Styled Futurist Looks At California Governor’s Mansion

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When he takes office this January, as seems inevitable, Gavin Newsom, a self-styled futurist, will inherit an economic legacy that could be turning sour. After a rapid expansion that seemed to make all things possible, Newsom may face challenges for which he may be poorly prepared.  read more »

The Hollowing-Out of the California Dream

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Progressives praise California as the harbinger of the political future, the home of a new, enlightened, multicultural America. Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill has identified California Senator Kamala Harris as the party leader on issues of immigration and race.  read more »