The Local and the Global: Lessons from Detroit

imageIn The Nicomachean Ethics, Aristotle articulates three types of friendship: friendship based on utility, friendship based on pleasure, and perfect friendship based on goodness. When it comes to the relationship between multi-national corporations and local places within the context of the global economy, I cannot help but think Aristotle’s description of friendship based on utility hits it on the head. Continue reading

Questioning a Driverless Future

imageI was in Dallas last week attending the Congress for the New Urbanism’s CNU 23 Conference, turning over the question “how do we build places people love” with professionals as enthusiastic about city design as myself. One concept that kept popping up was that of the driverless car. What bothered me about the surrounding discussion though was this attitude of inevitability regarding our driverless future. No one seemed to be stopping to ask whether such technology actually provides a net benefit to our quality of life. To be sure, such cars may provide several benefits from a possible reduction in traffic fatalities to better mobility for the elderly, disabled and others isolated by our auto-oriented society. But what about the potential pitfalls? Have we considered those? Let me just share a few unanswered questions of mine ranging from the concrete to the philosophical: Continue reading

Economic Participation

Hats off to Chana Joffe-Walt for this amazing piece of investigative journalism on economic participation and our current disability safety net. So how do we build an economy that works for all our brothers and sisters so that “happiness on earth ain’t just for high achievers”?  For this, our blog journeys on…

 

What Economics Can Learn From The World of Sports

imageTwo economic indicators are broadly used to measure the health of our economy: GDP to measure wealth and performance, and the unemployment rate to measure participation. Unfortunately, with these two metrics guiding our economic policy, an economy of alarming wealth concentration has been the unintended consequence. The President has called income inequality and upward mobility the “defining challenge of our times”. The political right seems to be in agreement, but is nervous as to how it can be addressed without increased political centralization and the stifling of personal freedom. To this political debate I offer the following thought; that the economic model we seek balancing performance, competition, freedom, participation, local and global forces is already modeled for us by the world of sports. Continue reading