My Commentary on ‘The Reagans’

More than most U.S. presidents, Ronald Reagan was a myth–and I mean that in the non-disparaging sense. A story was created around the real man, and it came to represent policies or ideology put into practice. On the economic front, this amounted to limiting government’s growth, at least in many areas (middle-class transfer programs suchContinue reading “My Commentary on ‘The Reagans’”

Love Letter *From* the Editor

Many words—including some of my own—have been expended lately on the plight of what we used to call daily journalism.  Often they get around to saying the newspapers (and now their websites) have themselves to blame for failing to maintain a connection with their readerships. These critiques call to mind a missed opportunity of myContinue reading “Love Letter *From* the Editor”

‘The Hamptons’ Is a One-Industry Place

 A “resort” community where there is no central commercial resort can still be a one-industry economy. In the case of the South Fork of Long Island (aka “Hamptons”), the one trick is luxury housing. There’s an extensive commercial/labor ecosystem to support it. Of course, there are the houses themselves—nearly all of them being conceived bigContinue reading “‘The Hamptons’ Is a One-Industry Place”

China Rediscovers Rural Life (Cue Applause)

Another period of singing the virtues of Chinese Communist Party (CCP) direction seems upon us, at least when it comes to steering an economy.  Just as after the Great Recession of 2008-9, China’s rebound from the Coronavirus Covid-19 has led the world. Of course, the official statistics always bear scrutiny, and public debt levels probablyContinue reading “China Rediscovers Rural Life (Cue Applause)”

Why’s Your Desired Wine $8 Less Within 8 Blocks?

The economics of wine are complex on many fronts, but today I want to consider just the consumer end of things: Specifically, why aren’t retail wine prices rational? That is to say, at a time when purchaser information can be nearly “perfect” (by smartphone search), why such disparities in what competing shops charge for theContinue reading “Why’s Your Desired Wine $8 Less Within 8 Blocks?”

Taiwan Gets Center of U.S. Stage

Taiwan can take heart that rarely in the wake of a U.S. presidential election has its own fate been so quickly prominent in foreign-policy discussion. The past week has seen several major media reports either raising anxieties about Joe Biden’s new approach to cross-strait tensions with China or reassuring the democratic island of unwavering support.Continue reading “Taiwan Gets Center of U.S. Stage”

Business Led The Way To Virus Revamps

The rapid transformation of the U.S. economy to “remote” during the pandemic—a switchover likely to endure in many respects after vaccinated immunity to Covid-19 is reasonably achieved—is gigantic testimony to the private sector’s adaptability. No official edicts beyond the initial lockdowns were necessary to bring about a relatively efficient changeover. Start with the physical deliveryContinue reading “Business Led The Way To Virus Revamps”

Can Thais Find Peaceful Reform?

Mass political uprisings continue to ring the globe—Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Nigeria and Thailand at the moment—and as always a big question is whether the political ferment will culminate in widespread violence. The situation in Bangkok is probably of most interest to Westerners because of travel familiarity—its airports are the busiest such international hubs in the world.Continue reading “Can Thais Find Peaceful Reform?”

The Watchman’s Work Is Hardly Done

When the dust settles from the pandemic blowout of U.S. employment, I’ll be interested to see how many security guards this anxious nation has retained. Although optical technologies ranging from robots to drones, plus the omnipresent video-cam in the corner, have made the watchman an endangered species in some analysts’ eyes, through 2019 the jobContinue reading “The Watchman’s Work Is Hardly Done”

Punish the Prudent: Fed v. Savers

“Coupon clippers” is not a description Americans aspire to fit. In the French, they are rentiers, those who live off the regular payments of others. The words have the whiff of an idle, leisure class–parasitical in many eyes. But what they are (or their forebears were) are savers, a rather more virtuous-seeming lot. Yet evenContinue reading “Punish the Prudent: Fed v. Savers”