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Lyfting Herself Up From Her Bootstraps

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I occasionally find myself in an Uber or Lyft. I like to hear about the lives of the people who do the driving. They’re overwhelmingly from the distant suburbs and drive in to the city to collect fares. An hour away is the most typical distance. I ask why they don’t just drive near where they live. The numbers don’t add up. Not enough volume. The distances are too far and the empty round trips burn up miles with no income. And the price they get for each trip is geographically sensitive based on supply and demand.  read more »

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The Labor Market Is Changing: Is Your Company Ready?

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Ever since the economy began to bounce back, with unemployment at an all-time low, the familiar refrain from pundits has been that growth, particularly of the higher wage variety, would head to the tech-oriented elite cities along the coasts. Yet, today, despite the headlines about Amazon’s expansions in New York and Washington, D.C., the real story is the aggressive growth taking place on a changing stage, both in terms of geography and changing labor demands.  read more »

The High Residential Densities of California (and “Wild Wild” Texas)

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US major metropolitan areas show considerable differences in their median house sizes and median lot sizes among major US metropolitan areas. Reviewing the median square footage for owner occupied housing units (single-detached and manufactured/mobile homes) and median lot sizes for single unit houses varies significantly between metropolitan areas although, by contrast, median house sizes are remarkably similar.  read more »

Will Canada Break Up Over Carbon Dioxide?

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Countries have broken up for very serious reasons like slavery, religious differences and ethnic tensions. But, so far, never in history has a country been at risk of breaking up because of a harmless gas – carbon-dioxide. Canada could, thanks to an ideologically-driven federal government.  read more »

The Middle Kingdom and the U.S. Economy

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In the poker match between President Donald Trump and China’s new all-but-emperor, Xi Jinping, it’s widely assumed that Xi holds the best hand. Yet President Xi’s hand may not be as awesome as it appears, while the United States, even under this very flawed president, may hold some fine cards.  read more »

The Democrats Finally Won the Suburbs. Now Will They Destroy Them?

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The Democratic Party’s triumphal romp through suburbia was the big story of the midterms.

In 2016 the suburbs, home to the majority of American voters, voted 50 to 45 for Donald Trump; this year, 52 percent went Democratic.  read more »

Amazon, Google, Apple and the Late Capitalism Blues

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We think of the movements of high-tech firms as illustrative of totally new phenomena but it resonates as well with earlier industrial history. The “gilded age” of America, when industries expanded rapidly, produced a growing appetite for labor. Automation in production also expanded output and revenue, but also a growing need for workers.  read more »

Blaming Workers Again

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Working-class people often get blamed for their troubles. They should have planned better, been less demanding, or just been smarter. Those are just some of the judgments that surfaced again in the weeks after General Motors’ announcement late in November that it would close five plants in the U.S. and Canada, leaving thousands of workers without jobs.  read more »

Canadian Families Denied Preferred Detached Houses, Forced into Condos: Survey

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A new poll by Sotheby’s International Realty suggests substantial disappointment among Canada’s young urban families, unable to afford to purchase the types of houses that they prefer. The poll determined that young urban households in Canada strongly prefer detached houses, but they are often “motivated by (financial) necessity to purchases houses, especially condominiums, they do not prefer."  read more »

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