The Economy, Not Palestine, Will Undo Joe Biden

This week’s surge in workers seeking unemployment benefits should be a sign that America’s already weakening economy, and much slower job growth, could prove the key to this year’s election. Indeed, one in four Americans fear losing their job in the next year.

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Biden’s Grid Wars are a Direct Assault on the Western Middle Class

As in the Medieval past, scarcity will likely define our present, facilitated by our “net zero” economy. This brave new world will support fewer people, juggling between them expensive resources, less food, and uncertain energy production. Perhaps the biggest struggle will be over electricity, the preferred energy solution of our ruling green hierarchy.

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Blue States Should Let ESG Die

Life is going from bad to worse for the ESG movement. This weekend, activist investor Bluebell Capital began a new battle to try and force BlackRock into overhauling its commitments to environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing, marking another step back for the movement.

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How AI Helps Tech Giants

Artificial intelligence (AI) and its related technologies — machine learning and the metaverse — represent a watershed in the evolution of the global economy. Like other such shifts, its emergence is likely to favor certain interests, notably a handful of technology giants, the media and a small cadre of highly skilled programmers. Everyone else faces economic danger, certain to roil domestic and international politics in coming years.

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The Myth of America’s Decline

North America may suffer from some of the world’s poorest political leadership. Yet it seems destined to remain the wealthiest, most dominant place on Earth.

This may come as a surprise to many. After all, generations of pundits have insisted that the future will be forged elsewhere – Europe for some, Japan for others and, more recently, China. But none have the resources, the dynamic population and innovative acumen of North Americans.

Once taken for granted, China’s claim to the future is looking especially wobbly. In 2018, Chinese foreign ministry official Zhao Lijian described efforts to slow China’s dominion as being ‘as stupid as Don Quixote versus the windmills’. He added that ‘China’s win is unstoppable’. Today, China’s triumph looks far from inevitable. Projections that China could surpass the US in terms of aggregate economic output as soon as 2028 are being readjusted to 2036. Some now believe it won’t happen at all.

As for Japan or the EU, neither are likely to ever surpass the US. Each has experienced consistently slower growth. According to International Monetary Fund data, the eurozone economy grew about six per cent over the past 15 years, compared with growth of 82 per cent for the US during the same period. Europe’s once formidable industrial base has eroded in large part due to the ever rising burden of regulation. Germany’s economy, the most powerful economy in the EU, is barely the size of that of California.

Nothing better reflects the tectonic shift in global economic power than investment flows. Between 2012 and 2022, US inbound foreign investment swelled by nearly $100 billion in adjusted dollars, well above the level of investment into China. Levels of inbound investment into the EU and the UK have actually fallen during the same period.

Indeed, investment in China dropped from more than $300 billion in 2021 to a 30-year low of less than $50 billion in 2023. Other parts of Asia are headed West. Last year, Taiwan-based TSMC, the world’s leading semiconductor foundry, decided to build a $12 billion new plant in Arizona. Samsung, a huge Korean chipmaker, is also shopping for sites for a $17 billion plant in the US.

The US is also the world’s preeminent military power. Although somewhat degraded from its Reagan-era strength, and challenged increasingly by China’s expansion, the US military remains the dominant force on Earth. The US spends roughly 3.5 per cent of GDP in defence and has a military budget roughly five times that for the combined militaries of the UK, France and Germany. Despite some recent increases, most European countries fail to spend even two per cent of GDP on defence. They have, until now, depended largely on the US to keep the Ukrainian cause alive. In recent months, European countries have once again been asking the US to protect what are really their own critical shipping lanes in the Red Sea.

Why America leads the way

The resurgence of North America clearly does not stem from either the leadership of doddering US president Joe Biden, who seems barely in control of his own White House, or his rival, the clearly demented Donald Trump. Nor has Canada’s uber-woke prime minister, Justin Trudeau, been of any help. Rather, the key lies in three factors: natural resources, technological dominance and demographic vitality.

Overall, natural resources account for more than half of all Canada’s exports and roughly one-quarter of those of the US. Together the US and Canada produce roughly twice as much oil as either Russia or Saudi Arabia. Fossil fuels, the demon rum of the green catastrophists, are not going away, even in Europe.

Read the rest of this piece at Spiked.

Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and and directs the Center for Demographics and Policy there. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Homepage photo: Nikolas Zane, via Flickr, under CC 2.0 License.

Class of ’24

Most political coverage in America revolves around personalities, stratagems, and the cultural issues that appeal to the activist class in both parties. Yet the real determinant in 2024 will not be abortion, “systemic racism,” gender fluidity, or climate change, but deepening class divides. Read more

Downtown San Francisco is Beyond Redemption

The recent announcement that Ian Jacobs, a scion of the famous Toronto-based Reichmann real estate clan, was coming to buy upwards of $900 million of San Francisco real estate, has offered the beleaguered California city a rare moment of hope. Some suggest that we could see a repeat of New York’s recovery from its nadir in the 1970s, during which the Reichmanns made a fortune gobbling up depressed buildings shortly before the city’s resurgence.

Yet any effort to restore San Francisco’s appeal will need more than an infusion of vulture capital. The city’s problems are essentially demographic and political, and have transformed San Francisco from an icon to a disaster zone, particularly as workers opt for remote work. The city’s office vacancy rate continues to rise, now surpassing 35%, the highest in its history.

To be sure, San Francisco has been losing its middle class for decades, replaced initially by young single people, many of whom are tied to the tech industry. But as early as 2015, the city began losing net domestic migrants as growth shifted to the further exurbs.

Since the pandemic, the city’s population has dropped and its social problems, long festering, have become a running sore. That’s likely why up to 10% of San Francisco’s residents have left the city — far more than in New York. “A lot of people have had it,” Heather Gonzalez, a longtime Democratic activist and mother of two, told me. “We have had neighbours and an elderly grandfather beat up on a bus and my kids have to watch people poop in public on Market Street. This is what we have to go through.”

Yet there is some hope, Gonzalez suggests. She points to the recent recall of ultra progressives including the District Attorney and three school board members. There’s also been a concerted effort by moderate Democrats to root the radical Left’s hold on the party as well as an effort to replace several far-Left members of the Board of Supervisors.

Amid a severe budget deficit, these efforts are critical. The city’s understaffed police department is almost certain to lose the battle for resources with the city’s dominant and fervently Leftist public employee unions. That the city now suffers the second highest violent crime rate in California illustrates just how important this battle is.

These reform efforts finally have some backing now from the tech oligarchs, who in recent years have been indifferent or even supportive of the progressive agenda. This has roiled the Left-wing activists who see any movement backed by the billionaire class as a hostile takeover.

Yet even if the city somehow regains its ballast, Reichman may be looking at the wrong places to invest. Although the office market may recover, the movement of business out of the state continues in a way far more profound than in New York back in the 1970s.

Read the rest of this piece at UnHerd.

Joel Kotkin is the author of The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class. He is the Roger Hobbs Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and Executive Director for Urban Reform Institute. Learn more at and follow him on Twitter @joelkotkin.

Homepage photo: Ken Lund, via Flickr under CC 2.5 License.

Biden’s War on Fossil Fuels is Hurting America

When Joe Biden assumed office in 2021, the progressive press hoped, as the LA Times crowed, that he would “turn America into California again.” To the great loss of America, the West and, of course, Californians, he is living up to this credo in spectacular fashion.

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Goodbye to Davos and Good Riddance

Once widely considered the gathering of the elite of a future world government, the World Economic Forum is leaving a legacy of increasing irrelevance. To be sure, the snow was good; the AI art installation and occasional forays into witchcraft may have stirred some; but the whole thing has devolved into a cocktail party for the self-important, with diminishing bearing on world politics.

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Why the Right is Eating the Left’s Lunch

The Western world is experiencing the most dramatic political realignment since the rise of socialism over a century ago. The driving force then was the rise of the working class, created by the Industrial Revolution. Today, it is the shift to an economy dominated by information industries, technology, finance and media. Read more