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March 2008
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July 2008

Harry Potter and the circulation of markets

Titus' last post, focusing on circulation, gave an important look at how local economies can stagnate because of compartmentalized thinking and cultures. When people within larger communities self-stratify, narrowing their focus, they may create vibrancy within their own orbit but fail to benefit from the network value of tapping into others around them. The end result are cities like Los Angeles,which is as equally, if not more ethnically diverse than New York City, but because of dependence on cars limits cultural cross-pollination. If politicians, businessmen, even community developers could take a look at the online world, they might learn something... Read more →

When Eroding Social Capital Reduces Circulation in Local Economies

Jonathan and I have been talking a lot about what it’s going to take to jumpstart the American economy. Certainly medical spending looks to be a growth center given the size of the oncoming wave of boomers and the increasing expense of medical treatments. I think that investment, especially in physical as well as soft infrastructure, could go a long way toward helping us get on the road to recovery. But something that’s really stayed with me for a few weeks is the potential benefit of refocusing our energies on local economies. Jonathan has been ruminating on this point and... Read more →

Feeling the Brotherly Love

Barack Obama chose Philadelphia as the site for delivering his majestic “A More Perfect Union” speech. Sure, choosing the City of Brotherly love freights the whole statement with the symbolism of comity. It also taps into a powerful set of symbols about the founding of the country. But this speech – or talk – went far beyond symbolism or pretty words or rhetorical sleight of hand. This talk touched upon what one friend of mine called “real talk”: the kind of straightforward, no-foolin’ exposition and explanation that reveals, deepens, and expands conversation and thinking. The sort of talk that suggests,... Read more →

Credit Crunch Could Last A While

The March 27th, 2008 New York Times article “Equity Loans as Next Round in Credit Crisis” by Vikas Bajaj previews the next chapter of our financial system’s unraveling. Actually, it’s not so much of a new chapter as the appendix to the previous one: too much debt, not enough preparation for economic change, and a great deal of confusion about the difference between a house as a domicile and a house as an asset. The March 27th, 2008 New York Times article “Equity Loans as Next Round in Credit Crisis” by Vikas Bajaj previews the next chapter of our financial... Read more →