The Downwardly Mobile: How Some People Lose Class Privilege

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We have two narratives about class in this country. Perhaps the most prominent is the American Dream – the idea that hard work and moral fortitude can lead people from rages to riches. The second is that of the rigged class system, one designed to ensure that the privileged remain privileged while the poor remain poor.  read more »

Subjects:

What's So Magic About $1 Trillion

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News reports say that the Trump Administration is going to propose a $1 trillion infrastructure plan to “boost the economy.” One writer says it will not only promote recovery but also help the environment.  read more »

The Cloud Over America’s Downtowns

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My latest column is online in Governing magazine. It’s called “The Cloud Over the Future of America’s Downtowns” and is about the particular challenge coronavirus related shutdowns pose to the American downtown renaissance.  read more »

Subjects:

Demographia World Urban Areas, 2020: Tokyo Lead Diminishing

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For the first time in more than six decades the world’s second ranked built-up urban area has reached within 10% of leader Tokyo. The 2020 edition of Demographia World Urban Areas reports that Jakarta has reached a population of 34.5 million, behind Tokyo-Yokohama’s 38.0 million (Figure 1). The report can be downloaded here (Note 1).  read more »

CHAZ, Christiania, and the Autonomous Zones We Really Need

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The dream that was CHAZ, the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, in Seattle has evaporated nearly as quickly as it originated. After three shootings leaving one man dead and three wounded, the experiment in police-free self-governance is ending. CHAZ, which renamed itself CHOP (Capitol Hill Occupied Protest), never quite figured out what autonomy requires of an autonomous zone.  read more »

The Disparate Impact of California Climate Policies

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To the detriment of those that can least afford expensive energy, California climate policies have driven up the cost of electricity and fuels to be among the highest in the country. The cost burdens of those policies may be fueling (no pun intended) the basis of a rebellion as the state’s climate policies discriminate against minority and low-income consumers.  read more »

California's Forecasted Budget Deficit Decades in the Making

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For decades, the state that has been dominated by one-party that has been laying the foundation for a budget catastrophe. The concept of having the wealthy bear the responsibility to fund most of the state’s General Fund and the constant efforts to have its residents pay the highest costs for electricity and fuels is about to burst the proverbial ideological bubble.  read more »

Feudalism and Stagnation in South Africa

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As I am writing this article, South Africa is predicted, following the coronavirus crises, to have an unemployment rate of 50% i.e. 1 in 2 working adults .The country’s lockdown has now been longer than the one in authoritarian China and to make matters worse, South Africa’s credit rating has been recently downgraded by agencies such as Fitch, Standard and Poor, and Moody’s.  read more »

The Green Civil War

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Like many contemporary social movements—#metoo, Black Lives Matter, the Women’s March—the environmental lobby has tended to create an atmosphere of unanimity. In its struggle to win public and elite opinion, it has frequently evoked “science” as something settled and immutable, warning that those who dissent are either self-serving or seriously deranged.  read more »

Employment by CIty Sector, Challenges Ahead for Downtowns

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New Census Bureau employment data indicates that most job creation in the nation’s 53 major metropolitan areas (over 1,000,000 population) continues to be in the suburbs and exurbs. This article describes employment (job) locations by urban sector, using the City Sector Model (described in the Note Figure 4, below). The source of the data is “County Business Patterns, which is published annually for every zip code in the nation, which is unlike the American Community Survey, which uses a five-year period to cover all areas of the nation.  read more »