Once upon a recent time, most of what we read appeared in our local newspapers, or maybe the Time magazine we bought at the corner drugstore. Now the web delivers a daily blizzard of articles, op-eds, blogs, think pieces, and other journalism. One blog leads to another. Friends send email with interesting links. Every day, I read something new and think, “Gee, everybody should read this.”
So, in lieu of a blog this week, here’s a reading list of recent items that caught my eye. Most deal with the economy, or jobs, or globalization. Some are Midwestern, others national. Each deserves a few minutes of your time.
(And if you've got some suggestions of your own, please let us hear about them.)
- John McCarron, Chicago Tribune, on Wandering Corporations
John McCarron, the Chicago journalist and teacher, writes on The Great Vamoose of so-called American corporations, like Walgreen's, exploring moves to overseas tax havens to save their shareholders a few bucks, and never mind the damage to the country where they were born and grew.
- William Galston, The Wall Street Journal, on Jobs for Young People
William Galston, a senior fellow at Brookings, wrote in The Wall Street Journal on what this economy is doing to young people who just want a good job, and why so many educated young adults have fetched up as baristas.
- Two Pieces on the Middle Class
Once the US had the world’s largest middle class. We even had the world wealthiest poor people. No longer. A New York Times article reported the news, and Thomas Edsall, one of our best economics journalists, gives one reason why.
- Harold Meyerson and Thomas Edsall on Liberal Cities
American Prospect magazine has a piece by its editor-at-large, Harold Meyerson, on how liberal mayors in some cities—not only New York City but Minneapolis, Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Boston—are following new policies to close the income and wealth gaps between the classes in their towns. It’s an intriguing idea but Edsall, once again, has his doubts.
- Brookings on Technology and Cities
One new wrinkle is the use of technology and big data to deal with the problems of cities. Brookings did a seminar on this and came up with some thoughts.
- The Economist and Bloomberg on Technology and Jobs
Some other articles look at the impact of technology on our standard of living with a more skeptical eye. These include The Economist magazine, usually a drum-beater for open markets and technology, and Bloomberg here and here.
- Chicago Tribune on the Image of Cities
When it comes to polishing an image and drawing in foreign investment, some unlikely places could teach Midwestern cities, such as Chicago, a thing or so. So says Alex Rodriguez in the Chicago Tribune, after a visit to Bogota.
- The Buzz About Piketty
Have you read Capital in the 21st Century, that Thomas Piketty book yet? If not, you’ll have to wait a while. Harvard Press, to its delighted amazement, has a blockbuster on its hands, and is scurrying around to print more copies—a lot more copies—than it had planned. In the meantime, Amazon says it’s out of stock and my local Barnes and Noble says it won’t have any copies for at least a week. In the meantime, there have been some rapturous reviews: a review by Branko Milanovic at the World Bank. Or by the excellent John Cassidy in The New Yorker. Or Paul Krugman’s review from The New York Review of Books.
There will be dissidents a-plenty on this, mostly the classical economists whom Piketty scorns, but most of them have yet to chime in. Tyler Cowan is one of the first, but even he admits that Piketty’s book is a landmark event.