An Attempt to Measure Regional Economic Justice
January 12, 2012

With national conversations about inequality and fairness in the air, I’ve been thinking about what economic justice might look like to regions. I find the late John Rawls to be the most insightful philosopher on the subject of justice, so I’ve been re-reading his great works. First of all, Rawls argues a just society must meet a minimum standard for civil liberties--basically, those specified by the U.S. Bill of Rights. Next, access to what he calls primary goods--things we value like influence, security, income, respect--should be openly available to all.

How Lost Wealth Undermines Economic Recovery
October 07, 2011

No event is more closely linked to our current economic disease than the collapse of the housing market. The Wall Street Journal’s S. Mitra Kalita illustrates that nicely in a new story out of Hagerstown, Md.--a community whose rise and fall was heavily tied to housing. As the president tours the country promoting his stimulus (Jobs Act) plan, stories like this provide clues as to why the economic rebound has come up so short and also point to why another stimulus bill and massive relief to homeowners is so necessary. Federal Reserve flow of funds data shows that U.S.

How Gross Is My Valley
June 30, 2010

The tiny farmworker outcropping of Kettleman City is located in California’s Central Valley, a 400-mile-long swath of some of the world’s most productive agricultural land. The town of about 1,500 is bordered on three sides by crops, including almond trees and tomato plants, that extend for 20 miles. Populated mostly by Mexican immigrants and lacking sidewalks and gutters, Kettleman City is a poor place that usually doesn’t draw attention.

Is the Economic Recovery Running Out of Steam?
June 15, 2010

Nationwide, the economic recovery looks more fragile than it did just a few months ago. GDP is growing at a moderate pace but not nearly as rapidly as at the end of last year. Almost no private sector jobs were created in May. The unemployment rate dipped from 9.9 percent in April to 9.7 percent in May, but mostly because fewer people were looking for work. Nearly half the unemployed in May were out of work for more than six months.

Recovery? Depends Where You Look…
December 15, 2009

The latest edition of MetroMonitor--our ground-up view of the recession and recovery--is out today, looking at economic indicators through the third quarter of 2009. The bottom line: It’s still a big country. Some places had largely recovered by September, while others still hadn’t bottomed out yet. Check out the report for all the details, but here are a few amuse- bouches to whet your appetite: The manufacturing belt surges… but it may be temporary.

The St. Paul Warlord: Hmong Friends
February 05, 2007

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The Triumph of Asian-Americans
July 15, 1985

David A. Bell: How one group of immigrants found its place in America.