Why The ‘Livable Cities’ Rankings Are Wrong

Appearing in: Forbes Few topics stir more controversy between urbanists and civic boosters than city rankings. What truly makes a city “great,” or even “livable”? The answers, and how these surveys determine them, are often subjective, narrow or even misguided. What makes a “great” city on one list can serve as a detriment on another. […]

Green Jobs Can’t Save The Economy

Appearing in: Forbes Nothing is perhaps more pathetic than the exertions of economic developers and politicians grasping at straws, particularly during hard times. Over the past decade, we have turned from one panacea to another, from the onset of the information age to the creative class to the boom in biotech, nanotech and now the […]

Forget Second Stimulus; We Need Economic Vision

Appearing in: Politico As the American economy slowly heals, the Obama administration will no doubt claim some credit for its $787 billion stimulus — and perhaps even suggest doubling down for a second stage. Republicans, for their part, will place their emphasis on the “slow” part of the equation and persistent high unemployment, blaming the […]

Salinas, California

Salinas Dispatch: A Silver Lining in the Golden State

Appearing in: Forbes From a distance, a crisis often takes on ideological colorings. This is true in California, where the ongoing fiscal meltdown has devolved into a struggle between anti-tax conservatives and free-spending green leftist liberals. Yet more nuances surface when you approach a crisis from the context of a specific place. Over the past […]

Moving to Reloville, America’s Cross-Country Careerists

Appearing in: The Wall Street Journal Peter T. Kilborn’s Next Stop, Reloville: Life Inside America’s New Rootless Professional Class documents an important piece of social history: the lives of relocating corporate executives. These modern-day ­nomads—overwhelming white, well-educated and middle-class—maintain the business machine of large companies. They include the technicians, marketing executives and professional managers who […]

The Next Culture War

Appearing in: Forbes The culture war over religion and values that dominated much of the last quarter of the 20th century has ended, mostly in a rout of the right-wing zealots who waged it. Yet even as this old conflict has receded , a new culture war may be beginning. This one is being launched […]

Tracking Business Services: Best And Worst Cities For High-Paying Jobs

Appearing in: Forbes Media coverage of America’s best jobs usually focuses on blue-collar sectors, like manufacturing, or elite ones, such as finance or technology. But if you’re seeking high-wage employment, your best bet lies in the massive “business and professional services” sector. This unsung division of the economy is basically a mirror of any and […]

Who Killed California’s Economy?

Appearing in: Forbes Right now California’s economy is moribund, and the prospects for a quick turnaround are not good. Unable to pay its bills, the state is issuing IOUs; its once strong credit rating has collapsed. The state that once boasted the seventh-largest gross domestic product in the world is looking less like a celebrated […]

Did Homeowners Cause The Great Recession?

Appearing in: Forbes The person who caused the current world recession can be found not on Wall Street or the city of London, but instead could be you, and your next-door neighbor–the people who put so much of their savings and credit to buy a house. Increasingly, conventional wisdom places the fundamental blame for the […]

Amid Obama’s Change is More of the Same

Appearing in: Politico The Obama administration has been, so far, hierarchical and even conservative in its thinking. Following and even surpassing the Bush administration’s reliance on an M.B.A.-trained elite, which drove the country nearly to ruin, the Obama approach seems to boil down to finding the smartest guy in the room, rather than utilizing people […]