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Category Archives: Economic issues

Do we really need so much stuff?

It took almost a month to build the new shed up above the garden. For ten years, a shed has been much needed here, because I did not have a place to store the lawn mower, or the tiller, out of the weather. Plus my beloved Jeep needs to be sheltered. But when I stand […]

Scary new predictions from Nouriel Roubini

Scheduled air traffic, 2009. Wikipedia. I owe a great deal to Nouriel Roubini. I had been a liberal prepper since 9/11. I was preparing for retirement as the Bush-Cheney financial bubble grew — and grew and grew. If you believed the horsewash and the noise in the media, it was a fine time to borrow […]

Lest we forget: Nature bats last

“The Course of Empires: Destruction.” Thomas Cole, 1836. Click here for high-resolution version. About two years ago, I reviewed Kyle Harper’s book The Fate of Rome: Climate, Disease, and the End of an Empire. Harper drew on new climate research and what we might call archeological microbiology to remind us that political histories are only […]

Envying the U.K.’s public transportation

Paddington Station, London. Just look how clean it is. I added up the number of hours of travel required to get from Acorn Abbey in the Blue Ridge foothills of North America to Stornaway on the isle of Lewis and Harris in the Outer Hebrides. It comes to about 28 hours. Of those hours, 25 […]

Why do we know so little about socialism?

John Rawls: Reticent Socialist, by William A. Edmundson. Cambridge University Press, 2017. 212 pages. I am going to propose an answer to the question that I raise in the headline: The reason we know so little about socialism is that, for two generations, since the era of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, the Overton window […]

The inequalities of banking

Increasingly, liberals are noticing that it’s very expensive to be poor. It may seem strange to those of us for whom bank accounts are an ordinary fact of life. But many people cannot afford bank accounts. Consequently poor people pay more for just about everything. Often when I go to the post office, I see […]

The yield curve and the coming Trump recession

A Facebook meme One of the first rules of managing your money is never to give, or to accept, advice about money. I’m not giving any advice in this post. But I am suggesting that now is a good time to take a good hard look — according to one’s own lights — at the […]

The global rot of billionaires

The list of things that make American deplorables so deplorable is very long — racism, vile religion, anti-intellectualism, appalling ignorance, love of propaganda, and tolerance for violence, to name a few. But one of the worst vices — taught by their sorry politics as well as their sorry religion — is the glorification of the […]

Apple Pay? Yes, you should …

When I first heard about Apple Pay a few years ago, I assumed that it was nothing more than a play by Apple to insert itself into the lucrative credit card transaction business and extract a cut. To some degree, that’s true. But, as far as I can tell, Apple gets only a meager 0.15 […]

Environmental justice: The people fight back

Al Gore This is a rather long photo essay. I hope you’ll bear with me. People sometimes ask me why I choose to live in a rural and seemingly backward place like Stokes County, North Carolina, after 18 years in an urbane place like San Francisco. Stokes is a poor county in the foothills of […]