The Conversation

Economy: Issues related to the economy and economics

Economic Fallout, and the Rise of Chinese "Ghost Towns"

Feb 28, 2013 10:37 AM PT

The bloated and seemingly unstoppable Chinese economy is not immune to downturn, after all.

Phoenix Island, the man-made utopia erected on the southern coast of Hainan province, is mostly comprised of deserted high-rises and empty poolside areas. The ramping-up of Chinese real estate has come to a screeching halt in the face of sluggish exports and off-loading of properties. The island was the result of government-generated credit boom for property investment. 

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The moral environment of entitlement

Feb 26, 2013 1:05 PM PT

In response to Fear of Missing Out:

I seem to recall some psychological studies in the not-too-distant past charting this phenomenon: people tend to set their rules of fair play in line with the general environment they perceive around them.  If everybody else is cashing in, they feel it would be foolish not to; if they think everyone else is cheating, the individual's fidelity to the rules suffers.

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Fear of Missing Out

Feb 26, 2013 10:49 AM PT

In response to Does America Love or Lust Big Government?:

Amity Shlaes, author of The Forgotten Man and the new book on Coolidge, talked about this subject at an e21 event last week called "How You Can Say No on Entitlements."  Video of the panel is here. Basically, she said it's not that everyone wants or even needs hand-outs.  They just don't want to be left out when they see others (perhaps less deserving) getting them.  She compared it to being at an airport and hearing an announcement about a gate change.   When everyone around you gets up and starts walking to the new gate, you get up and walk, too.  Maybe later you find out it wasn't your flight, but that didn't stop you from trying to be the first one at the new gate.

Does America Love or Lust Big Government?

Feb 26, 2013 10:00 AM PT

As cringeworthy as it is to admit, Ezra Klein's opinion that Americans really do love the benefits of federal spending, is very valid. Klein sites a recent report by the Pew Research Center, a report worth reading. The report which highlights a new national survey, found very limited public support in the area of reducing federal spending for a number of specific programs, which include entitlements, health care, defense and education: 

For 18 of 19 programs tested, majorities want either to increase spending or maintain it at current levels. The only exception is assistance for needy people around the world...Yet the survey also finds higher percentages support increases rather than decreases in spending for education, veterans’ benefits, entitlements and other programs. Six-in-ten (60%) say they would increase education funding, while 53% want funding for veterans’ benefits and services to grow and 41% say the same about spending on Social Security.

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Detroit- Most Miserable City in the US

Feb 22, 2013 5:01 AM PT

According to Forbes rankings, Detroit is the most miserable city in the United States. 

Home to violent crimes, high unemployment, decreasing population and economic crises, Detroit beat out Miami (last years winner) along with Flint-MI, Chicago-IL, and Modesto-CA.  The news comes on the heels of a panel of experts who said last week "the automotive city was facing a fiscal emergency and potential bankruptcy, as well as a possible financial takeover by the state."

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