My New Book “Surprising Design of Market Economies” Just Out


You can get my latest book, The Surprising Design of Market Economies, at your local bookstore or from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Google Play etc. In it, I describe the ways that government builds our economy and culture, and argue that these deep structures should be a more explicit part of our public, political conversations. You can read Op-Eds I have written that draw upon the book in The New York Times [How To Get Business To Pay Its Fair Share], and two from Bloomberg View [Capitalism & Government Are Friends and Health Care Will Become a Right, Just Like Water].

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Whatever the politics, Bush’s plan on immigration reform is a good start

A New Deal For Some Of The Region’s Labor Force

The thousands of people here illegally from Mexico, Poland, Ireland, Colombia, China and other countries who prepare our Cantonese soup with dumplings, deliver our tuna sandwiches on wholewheat toast, press our shirts and blouses, sweep under our beds, and prune our shrubbery may have reason to be pleased that President George W. Bush has announced what appears to be genuine and wholesale immigration reform.

Bush proposed this week that the United States set up an expanded system of ‘guest workers’, similar to what is in place in many countries in Europe, which would allow people from other countries to work here for a limited number of years. He also proposed amnesty for those who are already here who apply, and to expand the number of ‘green cards’ given that would allow people to work here indefinitely.

Who Gets the Favors?

The Virginian-Pilot
Monday, July 19, 1999

New ways of looking how we grow and develop are rare. But I think I’ve found one. It’s the “favored quarter” theory.

Myron Orfield, a state representative from Minneapolis, talks about it in his book, Metropolitics, (Brookings 1998).

In every metropolitan area, Orfield says, there is usually one chunk of the region that is receiving the lion’s share of private investment. Here is where the expensive new homes are going, the new offices and the new shopping centers.

Orfield calls it “The Favored Quarter.”

Now here’s the kicker . Not only is this favored quarter getting most of the private investment, it’s also getting most of the public investment. Here is where is going the lion’s share of new roads, sewers, schools and libraries.

The Master Hand

The Role of Government in Building Cities

[Excerpt From Chapter Six]

In 1817, the governor of New York convinced the state legislature to spend $7 million to finance a canal from Albany to Buffalo. Eight years later, after thousands of workers had carved a channel through rock and earth, the Erie Canal was complete. The 350-mile canal opened the entire upper Midwest to shipping, and cemented New York City’s role as transportation hub for the nation, and as the country’s greatest city.

Making Elections Matter

During the six presidential races in my adult lifetime, I’ve lived in three states – Virginia, Massachusetts and New York – that collectively have 31 million people and 58 electoral votes.

But despite all this political muscle, I can’t recall ever seeing a campaign ad by Reagan, a local appearance by Carter or a policy spin by Dukakis. No, each presidential race has been like a distant battle, watched with interest but not something I was a part of.

Why is this the case, given the populous, wealthy states I have lived in? Because our nation has something called the Electoral College, an antiquated system designed in the 18th century for reasons immaterial to our goals now. During the last election, we heard the machinery of this system grind and spark for more than a month, before it crankily spat out a “winner.”