“James Drain” Hits Cleveland


The ten story of mural of LeBron James is coming down in Cleveland. This one hurts. James wasn't just the latest embodiment of Cleveland's hopes, he was a local kid who, unlike so many, had stayed home in Northeast Ohio. His joining of the Cleveland exodus at a time of severe economic distress prompted Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert to pen a now infamous open letter to fans:  read more »

The Democrats' Middle-Class Problem


Class, the Industrial Revolution’s great political dividing line, is enjoying Information Age resurgence. It now threatens the political future of presidents, prime ministers and even Politburo chiefs.

As in the Industrial Age, new technology is displacing whole groups of people — blue- and white-collar workers — as it boosts productivity and creates opportunities for others. Inequality is on the rise — from the developing world to historically egalitarian Scandinavia and Britain.  read more »

Entrepreneurship Fuels Recession Recovery in Sweden


In a time when many European nations are burdened by high debts and difficulties to get spending under control, the Swedish economy is amongst the most well managed in Western Europe.

The nation’s GDP fell dramatically, by more than four percent, when the financial crisis struck. This decline was twice the average of the OECD-15 countries. Despite this, Swedish employment actually increased between the last quarter of 2006 and 2009.  read more »

SPECIAL REPORT: Move to Suburbs (and Beyond) Continues


Anyone who challenges the notion that the long predicted exodus of people from the suburbs to the city has been wildly overstated is sure to generate some backlash from urban boosters. Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution contends in a New Republic column that "head counts" better reveal city trends than property trends or the massive condo bust.  read more »

Stagnation in the City of Angels: Whatever Happened to Ideas?


It’s only been a couple of years since a red-hot real estate market had our city riding high. The market turned out to be a bubble, of course, and it eventually burst. Gone is the giddiness that comes when folks convince themselves that real estate or high tech stocks or any other trend or commodity can defy gravity and continue upward forever.

Yet giddiness isn’t the only thing that’s been lost. Ideas have disappeared from the political landscape of Los Angeles.  read more »

Economics: Green Shoots & Immigration

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A year ago we were hearing all about green shoots. Analysts claimed to find them everywhere.

Today, we never see the term. In fact, there seems to be a growing malaise. By the end of June the first quarter’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) estimate was revised downward a full half a percent, to 2.7 percent. Pundits are depressed.  read more »

Demographics: The Elderly Dividend

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Some 40 million Americans are now over age 65, and about 6 million are over 85. In the land of Denny’s, anyone over 55 can order the senior platters. Would I be right in guessing that 30 million American children spend part of their time looking after their parents?

Like many baby boomers, I spend a considerable amount of my time in the company of my ninety-something parents. That involves fixing meals, opening car doors, reading Maureen Dowd aloud from the newspaper, adjusting hearing aids, listening to doctors, cleaning out the garage, and cajoling them to eat more or less food.  read more »


The Need to Expand Personal Mobility


Few books in recent memory have started from as optimistic or solid a foundation as Reinventing the Automobile: Personal Urban Mobility for the 21st Century. Reinventing the Automobile conveys a strong message that improved personal mobility is necessary and desirable:  read more »

Singapore's Demographic Winter


Over the past half century arguably no place on earth has progressed more than the tiny island state of Singapore. A once impoverished, tropical powder keg packed into 268 square miles at the foot of the Malay Peninsula, the Mandarin-led republic has ascended from its difficult founding in 1965 to one of the richest economies on the planet. Today, in terms of purchasing power, its per capita income stands higher than most European countries' or Japan's and is roughly equal to that of the U.S.  read more »

The Myth of the Back-to-the-City Migration


Pundits, planners and urban visionaries—citing everything from changing demographics, soaring energy prices, the rise of the so-called "creative class," and the need to battle global warming—have been predicting for years that America's love affair with the suburbs will soon be over. Their voices have grown louder since the onset of the housing crisis. Suburban neighborhoods, as the Atlantic magazine put it in March 2008, would morph into "the new slums" as people trek back to dense urban spaces.  read more »