America’s Software And Tech Hotspots

Appearing in:

Forbes

Where is America’s tech and software industry thriving? In a new study conducted for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., researchers took an interesting stab at that question, assessing which metro areas have the strongest concentrations of software developers, spread across a broad array of industries, as well as the best compensation and job growth, and access to venture capital funding. Read more

Aristocracy of Talent: Social Mobility Is the Silver Lining to America’s Inequality Crisis

Appearing in:

The Daily Beast

Yes, wealth concentration is insane. But the ways in which wealth is shifting are surprising—and give reason for a little optimism.

In an age of oligarchy, one should try to know one’s overlords—how they made their money, and where they want to take the country. By looking at the progress of the super-rich — in contrast with most of us — one can see the emerging and changing dynamics of American wealth. Read more

This Is Why You Can’t Afford a House

Appearing in:

The Daily Beast

The rising cost of housing is one of the greatest burdens on the American middle class. So why hasn’t it become a key issue in the presidential primaries?

There’s little argument that inequality, and the depressed prospects for the middle class, will be a dominant issue this year’s election. Yet the most powerful force shaping this reality—the rising cost of housing—has barely emerged as political issue.

As demonstrated in a recent report (PDF) from Chapman University’s Center for Demographics and Policy, housing now takes the largest share of family costs, while expenditures on food, apparel, and transportation have dropped or stayed about the same. Read more

Serfs Up with California’s New Feudalism

Appearing in:

Orange County Register

Is California the most conservative state?

Now that I have your attention, just how would California qualify as a beacon of conservatism? It depends how you define the term.

Since the rise of Ronald Reagan, most conservatives have defined themselves by pledging loyalty to market capitalism, supporting national defense and defending sometimes vague “traditional” social values. Yet in the Middle Ages, and throughout much of Europe, conservatism meant something very different: a focus primarily on maintaining comfortable places for the gentry, built around a strong commitment to hierarchy, authority and a singular moral order. Read more

America’s Next Boom Towns: Regions to Watch in 2016

Appearing in:

Forbes

Which cities have the best chance to prosper in the coming decade? The question is a complex one, and as the economy changes, so, too, will the best-positioned cities.

To identify the cities most likely to boom over the next 10 years, we took the 53 largest metropolitan statistical areas in the country (those with populations exceeding 1 million) and ranked them based on eight metrics indicative of past, present and future vitality. We factored in, equally, the percentage of children in the population, the birth rate, net domestic migration, the percentage of the population aged 25-44 with a bachelor’s degree, income growth, the unemployment rate, and population growth. Read more

The Cities Where Your Salary Will Stretch The Furthest 2015

Appearing in:

Forbes

Average pay varies widely among U.S. cities, but those chasing work opportunities would do well to keep an eye on costs as well. Salaries may be higher on the East and West coasts, but for the most part, equally high prices there mean that the fatter paychecks aren’t necessarily getting the locals ahead.

To determine which cities actually offer the highest real incomes, Mark Schill, research director at Praxis Strategy Group, conducted an analysis for Forbes of the 53 largest metropolitan statistical areas, adjusting annual earnings by a cost factor that combines median home values from the U.S. Census (20%) with a measure of regional price differences from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (80%). Read more

Are We Heading for An Economic Civil War?

Appearing in:

The Daily Beast

When we speak about the ever-expanding chasm that defines modern American politics, we usually focus on cultural issues such as gay marriage, race, or religion. But as often has been the case throughout our history, the biggest source of division may be largely economic.

Today we see a growing conflict between the economy that produces consumable, tangible goods and another economy, now ascendant, that deals largely in the intangible world of media, software, and entertainment. Like the old divide between the agrarian South and the industrial North before the Civil War, this threatens to become what President Lincoln’s Secretary of State, William Seward, defined as an “irrepressible conflict.” Read more

How Big Government and Big Business Stick It to Small U.S. Businesses

Appearing in:

The Daily Beast

From the inception of the Soviet Union, transformation was built, quite consciously, on eliminating those forces that could impede radical change. In many ways, the true enemy was not the large foreign capitalists (some of whom were welcomed from abroad to aid modernization) but the small firm, the independent property owner.

“Small scale commercial production is, every moment of every day, giving birth spontaneously to capitalism and the bourgeoisie … Wherever there is business and freedom of trade, capitalism appears,” noted the state’s founder Vladimir Lenin. He understood that while larger firms could be manipulated to serve the state, “capitalism begins in the village marketplace.” Read more

Oil Bust? Bah — North Dakota Is Still Poised To Thrive

Appearing in:

Forbes

Oil and gas companies have the worst public image of any industry in the United States, according to Gallup. But it’s well-loved in a swathe of the U.S. from the northern Plains to the Gulf Coast, where the boom in unconventional energy production has transformed economies Read more

The Comeback Of The Great Lakes States

Appearing in:

Forbes

For generations the broad swath of America along the Great Lakes has been regarded as something of a backwater. Educated workers and sophisticated industries have tended to gather in the Northeast and on the West Coast, bringing with them strong economic growth.

Yet increasingly these perceptions are outdated. The energy hotbeds of Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota may have posted the strongest employment growth since 2007, and were among the first states to gain back all the jobs lost in the recession. But a group of less heralded places from Minnesota to western Pennsylvania have also enjoyed a considerable revival, as energy, manufacturing, logistics and other basic industries have rebounded. Read more