Urban Legends: Why Suburbs, Not Dense Cities, are the Future

Appearing in: Foreign Policy The human world is fast becoming an urban world — and according to many, the faster that happens and the bigger the cities get, the better off we all will be. The old suburban model, with families enjoying their own space in detached houses, is increasingly behind us; we’re heading toward […]

Mass Transit: The Great Train Robbery

Appearing in: Forbes.com Last month promoters of the Metropolitan Transit Authority’s Los Angeles rail projects, both past and future, held a party to celebrate their “success.” Although this may well have been justified for transit-builders and urban land speculators, there may be far less call for celebration among L.A.’s beleaguered commuters. Despite promises that the […]

The Golden State’s War on Itself

Appearing in: The City Journal California has long been a destination for those seeking a better place to live. For most of its history, the state enacted sensible policies that created one of the wealthiest and most innovative economies in human history. California realized the American dream but better, fostering a huge middle class that, […]

Alaska: Caribou Commons Or America’s Lost Ace?

Appearing in: Forbes.com The most serious collateral damage from the BP spill disaster could very likely be in the far north, along the Alaskan coast. The problem is not a current spill but the Obama administration’s ban on offshore drilling and what many fear may be a broader attempt to close the state from further […]

A New War Between The States

Appearing in: Forbes.com Nearly a century and half since the United States last divided, a new “irrepressible conflict” is brewing between the states. It revolves around the expansion of federal power at the expense of state and local prerogatives. It also reflects a growing economic divide, arguably more important than the much discussed ideological one, […]

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Tribes And Trust

Appearing in: Forbes.com Only Tribes held together by a group feeling can survive in a desert. –Ibn Khaldun, 14th century Arab historian Time to chuck into the dustbin the cosmopolitan notions so celebrated at global conferences: a world run by wise men of the United Nations, science-driven socialists or their ostensibly more pragmatic twins, global […]

We Trust Family First

Appearing in: Forbes.com Americans, with good reason, increasingly distrust the big, impersonal forces that loom over their lives: Wall Street, federal bureaucracy, Congress and big corporations. But the one thing they still trust is that most basic expression of our mammalian essence: the family. Family ties dominate our economic life far more than commonly believed. […]

How Obama Lost Small Business

Appearing in: The Daily Beast Financial reform might irk Wall Street, but the president’s real problem is with small businesses—the engine of any serious recovery. Joel Kotkin on what he could have done differently. The stock market, with some fits and starts, has surged since he’s taken office. Wall Street grandees and the big banks […]

The Democrats’ Middle-Class Problem

Appearing in: Politico 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 […]

Singapore’s Demographic Winter

Appearing in: Forbes.com 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 […]