Meet Marble

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I’ve lived in this neighborhood for so long that I’ve grown used to tech start ups beta testing their schemes on my doorstep. I remember the first time I saw a car drive by with a huge furry pink mustache strapped to the front grill between the headlights. That was the start of Lyft. I have a clear memory from 2008 when a friend rented her apartment out on a new internet platform. That was Airbnb. Back in the late 1990s during the dot com bubble there was a start up that would deliver everything from milk to condoms via bicycle courier.  read more »

Can California Survive a Tech Bust?

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California’s economic revival has sparked widespread notions, shared by Jerry Brown and observers elsewhere, that its economy — and policy agenda — should be adopted by the rest of the country. And, to be sure, the Golden State has made a strong recovery in the last five years, but this may prove to be far more vulnerable than its boosters imagine.  read more »

Shrinking America

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The Census Bureau released its 2016 county level population estimates earlier this year. This gave us a window into the places that are gaining or losing total population.  read more »

Subjects:

Inequality and the 2016 Election Outcome: A Dirty Secret and a Dilemma

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The presidential election of 2016 occurred at the crest of a national debate over economic inequality,  deeply researched by economists and sociologists since the 1990s, widely perceived to have risen sharply since the 1970s, and a focus of the first serious left-wing insurgency the Democratic Party in four decades, that of Bernie Sanders. Can class and inequality help explain the election result?  The answer appears to be that they can, quite strongly, but in ways that may seem surprising.  read more »

Ten American Experiences: A Fourth of July Meditation

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The Fourth of July is a good time to ask the question: what exactly are we celebrating when we celebrate “America?” Is it a set of ideals and principles rooted in the Enlightenment? Is it a blood-and-soil nation on the American continent, with unique institutions and culture? Is it an idea that happens to have a nation, a nation that happens to have an idea, or something else entirely?

Another way to define it might be an empirical account of various American experiences. What follows, then, is a narrative litany of what this writer believes to have been the most influential historical experiences shaping Americanism in every epoch of our existence as a nation, from colonial days to the present.  read more »

Subjects:

Why Socialism Is Back

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Even as Venezuela falls deeper into crisis, and the former Soviet bloc nations groan under its legacy, socialism is coming back, and in a big way. Its key supporters are not grizzled pensioners yearning for Marxist security, but a whole new generation, most of whom have little memory of socialist failure.  read more »

Canada Turns 150 – Time to Celebrate – But Only in Moderation

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Canada is one of the world’s most successful countries on quality of life and income indicators.  Among the reasons for its success are its foundation of laws, vast natural resources, access to the huge American market, and law abiding citizens.

Canada was founded by the British Government at the height of the British Empire. French-speaking and English-speaking colonies agreed to join, and then spread west along the 49th parallel border with America.  read more »

Canada at 150: Perspectives

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Canada and the United States have lived together in peace for more than two centuries, since the War of 1812. Yet, it has not always been easy.  read more »

The Cities Creating The Most High-Wage Jobs

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As the country moves toward full employment, at least as economists define it, the quality of jobs has replaced joblessness as the primary concern. With wages still stagnant, rising an anemic 2.5% in the year to May, the biggest challenge for most parts of the U.S. is not getting more people into the workforce but rather driving the creation of the types of jobs that can sustain a middle-class quality of life.  read more »

New Infrastructure in Sub-Saharan Africa

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This post will be continuously updated as we learn about new projects.

On the three main vectors of wealth creation, African countries have lagged other developing nations for several decades. Sub-Saharan Africa is the poorest region of the world and suffers from poor infrastructure, uneven literacy, endemic corruption, political instability and war. While this is problematic for the present, improving conditions are pointing to a more promising future.  read more »