I recently got into a discussion on Twitter about the soundness of upzoning, or the increase in the allowance of residential units in cities, as a rational and reasonable response to the lack of affordable housing in our nation's large cities. Anyone who's been reading my writing knows that I've disagreed with this for quite some time, and tried many ways to articulate my views and reach some understanding. read more »
In Sacramento, and much of the media, California is enjoying a “comeback” that puts a lie to the argument that regulations and high taxes actually matter. The hero of this recovery, Gov. Jerry Brown, in Bill Maher’s assessment, “took a broken state and fixed it.” read more »
There is no better way to see China than by train. This is especially true because foreigners are not allowed to drive rental cars without first obtaining a Chinese drivers license. China has developed the world's largest high-speed rail system, which includes one of only three profitable routes in the world, along with Tokyo to Osaka and Paris to Lyon. read more »
Be careful what you wish for, if that is what you wish for.
Except for the oil shocks of the 1970s and a few other recessionary years, the US economy has generally been strong in the postwar era since 1945. Huge advances in technology and trade, a favorable business environment and strong demographics combined to create tens of trillions of dollars of new wealth in the US and around the world. read more »
In 2009, when Rio de Janeiro was awarded the Summer Games, many saw it as a validation of Brazil’s ascension on the world stage. Yet seven years later, this estimation seems to have been a bit premature, as Rio and other Brazilian cities struggle to meet the basic needs of the Olympians. read more »
This is Riga, Latvia. The Baltic Republics had a particularly difficult time during the twentieth century with Nazi Germany invading in 1941 and Soviet Russia occupying them until 1991. What had been a prosperous group of small Scandinavian style countries became relatively impoverished and isolated. read more »
The government of Ireland has adopted a new policy (Rebuilding Ireland: Action Plan for Housing and Homelessness) intended to improve the quality of life and the national economy by making housing more affordable. read more »
Is long term privatization of government assets in the form of leases or concessions a good idea?
The answer is not Yes or No but rather What and How.
Done right, long-term privatization can be a great thing to the public. But given the multi-decade nature of some of these deals, the risk of getting it wrong is high. read more »
Ordos, in China's Autonomous Region of Inner Mongolia (equivalent to a province) has received international notoriety as a "ghost city." I had already visited one other ghost city and found the reports considerably exaggerated (The Zhengzhou New Area in Henan, a commercial and residential district). But Ordos has received by far the most publicity. read more »
The information sector may have glamour and manufacturing, nostalgia appeal, but the real action in high-wage job growth in the United States is in the vast realm of professional and business services. This is not only the largest high-wage part of the economy, employing just under 20 million people at an average salary of $30 an hour, it’s also one the few high-wage sectors in which employment has expanded steadily since 2010, at more than 3% a year, adding nearly 3 million white-collar jobs. read more »