In this high-tech information age few look to the most basic industries as sources of national economic power. Yet no sector in America is better positioned for the future than agriculture--if we allow it to reach its potential.
Like manufacturers and homebuilders before them, farmers have found themselves in the crosshairs of urban aesthetes and green activists who hope to impose their own Utopian vision of agriculture. This vision includes shutting down large-scale scientifically run farms and replacing them with small organic homesteads and urban gardens. read more »
Who hasn’t daydreamed about taking revenge on an industry that has managed to parlay the horrors of modern air travel into a multi-billion dollar federal bailout? Although in most cases, I would guess, the fantasy involves the ticket agent’s undies, not our own, going up in smoke.
As everyone knows, in response to the Northwest flameout, the Obama administration has adopted policies that are almost exactly the same as those of the Bush administration, turning the flying experience into a political advertisement for all the wonderful things that the president is doing to fight the war on terror. read more »
On January 15th, Dubai's ruler, Sheikh Mohammed bin-Rashid bin-Maktoum responded to an article written by the author and Joel Kotkin suggesting the United Nations should move its headquarters from New York to Dubai. Dubai issued a formal statement, "The emirate would welcome talks with officials at the organisation to inform them of the facilities and advantages that Dubai can offer." read more »
Denmark is a good microcosm. It holds lessons for us here in the States, good and bad. I felt that way when I first lived there in 1971, when I researched my doctoral dissertation there in 1977, and I feel that way now.
Denmark is a mixed-economy (free market competition with a large public sector), social welfare, multi-party democratic country that, because of its small size and international exposure, is affected more quickly and deeply by social, economic and political forces at work in the Western (and wider) world. read more »
Now we have the Copenhagen deniers. These are people who won't accept that the UN’s climate change process has been derailed. The highest emitting nations refuse to be bound by an enforceable treaty. Instead of bedding down a replacement for the near-defunct Kyoto Protocol, they asked for a rain check. read more »
It comes as welcome news that the United States Department of Transportation Inspector General is concerned about the integrity of high-speed rail projections, “including ridership, costs, revenues and associated public benefits.” The issue has become ripe as a result of the $8 billion for high speed rail that the Obama Administration slipped into the economic stimulus bill early in 2009. read more »
By all historical logic and tradition, Wall Street’s outrageous bonuses—almost $20 billion to Goldman Sachs alone—should be setting a populist wildfire across the precincts of the Democratic Party. Yet right now, the Democrats in both the White House and Congress seem content to confront such outrageous fortune with little more than hearings and mild legislative remedies—like a proposed new bank tax, which, over the next decade, seeks to collect $90 to $100 billion. This amounts, on an annual basis, to about half of this year’s bonus for Goldman’s gold diggers alone. read more »
It's delightfully easy to blast Las Vegas… or simply to make fun of it. It is the world capital of shamelessness, so it is more or less beside the point to criticize. Yet with the debut of the colossal $8.5 billion CityCenter, Vegas makes pretension to "sustainable urbanism." Even by Vegas standards of hype, this is mendacity at a colossal scale. read more »
Much has been made of California's struggles, but some still say California's best days are ahead of it. In this calculus, innovation in high tech, biotech, green tech, clean tech, any tech will ultimately pull the state out of its current funk and to even greater success tomorrow. Promoters of this view cite an impressive roster of statistics around venture capital, patents, new business formation, etc., along with obligatory anecdotes of ambitious new startups with world changing products (coming soon) and their slick, dynamic founders. read more »
The opening last week of the world's tallest building, the half-mile-high Burj Dubai, has largely been greeted with guffaws and groans. The Daily Telegraph labeled it "the new pinnacle of vanity"--"a purposeless monument to the subprime era." The Wall Street Journal compared it to the Tower of Babel. (When the Empire State Building was completed in 1931, in the throes of the greatest financial crisis of the 20th century, it was met with similar jeers. The then-tallest building in the world was called the Empty State Building, and it remained vacant for several years.)
Yet the Burj's completion--indeed the whole wild enterprise known as Dubai--could signal a potential opportunity to the global community: turning the place into the headquarters for that other misguided ship, the United Nations. read more »