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Boom Towns

Author: Stephen J.K. Walters
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 0804792275
Size: 13.77 MB
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American cities, once economic and social launch pads for their residents, are all too often plagued by poverty and decay. One need only to look at the ruins of Detroit to see how far some once-great cities have fallen, or at Boston and San Francisco for evidence that such decline is reversible. In Boom Towns, Stephen J.K. Walters diagnoses the root causes of urban decline in order to prescribe remedies that will enable cities to thrive once again. Arguing that commonplace explanations for urban decay misunderstand the nature our towns, Walters reconceives of cities as dense accumulations of capital in all of its forms—places that attract people by making their labor more productive and their leisure more pleasurable. Policymakers, therefore, must properly define and enforce property rights in order to prevent the flight of capital and the resulting demise of urban centers. Using vivid evocations of iconic towns and the people who crucially affected their destinies, Walters shows how public policy measures which aim to revitalize often do more harm than good. He then outlines a more promising set of policies to remedy the capital shortage that continues to afflict many cities and needlessly limit their residents' opportunities. With its fresh interpretation of one of the American quandaries of our day, Boom Towns offers a novel contribution to the debate about American cities and a program for their restoration.

Building Home

Author: Eric John Abrahamson
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 0520953428
Size: 59.68 MB
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Building Home is an innovative biography that weaves together three engrossing stories. It is one part corporate and industrial history, using the evolution of mortgage finance as a way to understand larger dynamics in the nation‘s political economy. It is another part urban history, since the extraordinary success of the savings and loan business in Los Angeles reflects much of the cultural and economic history of Southern California. Finally, it is a personal story, a biography of one of the nation‘s most successful entrepreneurs of the managed economy —Howard Fieldstad Ahmanson. Eric John Abrahamson deftly connects these three strands as he chronicles Ahmanson’s rise against the background of the postwar housing boom and the growth of L.A. during the same period. As a sun-tanned yachtsman and a cigar-smoking financier, the Omaha-born Ahmanson was both unique and representative of many of the business leaders of his era. He did not control a vast infrastructure like a railroad or an electrical utility. Nor did he build his wealth by pulling the financial levers that made possible these great corporate endeavors. Instead, he made a fortune by enabling the middle-class American dream. With his great wealth, he contributed substantially to the expansion of the cultural institutions in L.A. As we struggle to understand the current mortgage-led financial crisis, Ahmanson’s life offers powerful insights into an era when the widespread hope of homeownership was just beginning to take shape.

Smaller Cities In A World Of Competitiveness

Author: Peter Karl Kresl
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1317539761
Size: 69.97 MB
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Much recent research in Urban Studies has concentrated on the notion of the ‘global city’ but discussion has also covered a larger set of mega cities, with populations in excess of 10 million. This analysis has begged the question of the optimal size for a city – is larger always better? Smaller Cities explores the advantages and disadvantages of different sized cities, trying to determine their place in the global economy and hierarchy. How can smaller cities gain or retain their competitiveness in a world of large cities? In a globalized world, the nation has perhaps been diminished as an economic actor, with fiscal shortcomings and political gridlock leaving cities more or less on their own in the task of enhancing their competitiveness and improving the economic lives of their residents. This book argues that smaller cities of varying population can be important actors in competitiveness and aims to bring attention to an area often overlooked by researchers. In short, are Pittsburgh, San Diego and Austin less competitive than London and Mumbai? This volume will be of interest to students, researchers, and city professionals who work in urban economy and urban geography.

The Human City

Author: Joel Kotkin
Publisher: Agate Publishing
ISBN: 157284776X
Size: 67.61 MB
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"The Human City presents the most cogent, evidence-based and clear-headed exposition of the pro-suburban argument. . . . enriching our understanding of what cities are about and what they can and must become.” —Wall Street Journal Around the globe, most new urban development has adhered to similar tenets: tall structures, small units, and high density. In The Human City, Joel Kotkin—called “America’s uber-geographer” by David Brooks of the New York Times—questions these nearly ubiquitous practices, suggesting that they do not consider the needs and desires of the vast majority of people. Built environments, Kotkin argues, must reflect the preferences of most people—especially those of families—even if that means lower-density development. The Human City ponders the purpose of the city and investigates the factors that drive most urban development today. Armed with his own astute research, a deep-seated knowledge of urban history, and a sound grasp of economic, political, and social trends, Kotkin pokes holes in what he calls the “retro-urbanist” ideology and offers a refreshing case for dispersion centered on human values. This book is not anti-urban, but it does advocate a greater range of options for people to live the way they want at all stages of their lives.

Inside Job

Author: Mark A. Zupan
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1108116523
Size: 41.79 MB
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National decline is typically blamed on special interests from the demand side of politics corrupting a country's institutions. The usual demand-side suspects include crony capitalists, consumer activists, economic elites, and labor unions. Less attention is given to government insiders on the supply side of politics - rulers, elected officials, bureaucrats, and public employees. In autocracies and democracies, government insiders have the motive, means, and opportunity to co-opt political power for their benefit and at the expense of national well-being. Many storied empires have succumbed to such inside jobs. Today, they imperil countries as different as China and the United States. Democracy - government by the people - does not ensure government for the people. Understanding how government insiders use their power to subvert the public interest - and how these negative consequences can be mitigated - is the topic of this book by Mark A. Zupan.

Politics As A Peculiar Business

Author: Richard E. Wagner
Publisher: Edward Elgar Publishing
ISBN: 1785365487
Size: 66.83 MB
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Economists typically treat government as something outside the business realm, a sort of “Lord of the Manor”. Richard Wagner argues that this is the wrong approach and can ultimately be destructive to capitalism and to society. Modern governments are a peculiar form of business enterprise. They face the same problems as regular businesses, such as ascertaining demand and organizing production, and act within the system in a way that can lead to a parasitical relationship with the market. Largely rooted in political economy, this book develops new theoretical ideas and formulations to explain why democracy is a difficult form of government to maintain. The author explores how and why limited governments can morph into a system of destructive politics, and looks at ways to escape this process. This dynamic book will be useful for public choice scholars, economists, political scientists, and lawyers who are interested in political economy in its various guises.

James M Buchanan And Liberal Political Economy

Author: Richard E. Wagner
Publisher: Lexington Books
ISBN: 1498539076
Size: 64.59 MB
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James M. Buchanan and Liberal Political Economy: A Rational Reconstruction examines the contemporary meaning and significance of James M. Buchanan’s body of work. The book uses Buchanan’s past contributions to explore the present and future relevance of his scholarly contributions and insights. It seeks mainly to explain what insight for their work contemporary scholars might acquire by becoming familiar with some of Buchanan’s formulations. Buchanan was one of the most creative and prolific scholars of political economy during the post-war period. Not only was his body of work so immense that it could not be contained within 20 volumes of Collected Works, but also Buchanan’s scholarship made such strong contact with law, ethics, and political science that he could easily have served as a poster-child for the programs in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics which have been gaining momentum in recent years. Buchanan spoke for a style of economics that made wide and firm contact with the full range of the humane studies. This book emphasizes those features of Buchanan’s thought that seem relevant for contemporary scholarship within the broadly liberal tradition of political economy.

Economic And Political Change After Crisis

Author: Stephen H. Balch
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1315505673
Size: 35.50 MB
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The U.S. Government’s accumulated national debt and unfunded liabilities in social security and Medicare could be pushing the country towards a fiscal crisis. How could such a crisis be avoided? If a crisis does strike, how might it be dealt with? What might be the long term ramifications of experiencing a crisis? The contributors to Economic and Political Change After Crisis explore all of these questions and more. The book begins by exploring how past crises have permanently increased the size and scope of government and how well the rule of law has been maintained during these crises. Chapters explore how these relationships might change in a future crisis and examine how the structure of the U.S. government contributes to a tendency towards fiscal imbalance. In a provocative contribution, the authors predict a U.S. government default on its debt. The book concludes by considering how a fiscal crisis might precipitate or interact with other forms of crises. Social scientists from a variety of disciplines, public policy makers, and concerned members of the general public would all benefit from the contributions contained in this book. If the U.S. is going to avoid a future crisis, or do as well as possible if a crisis occurs, the arguments in these chapters should be given serious consideration.

The End Of The Suburbs

Author: Leigh Gallagher
Publisher: Penguin
ISBN: 1591846978
Size: 71.26 MB
Format: PDF
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A Fortune journalist examines why suburbs are transforming and losing their appeal in society-improving ways, citing such factors as shrinking birth and marriage rates, environment-driven preferences for smaller homes and a renaissance in urbanized housing that promotes healthier lifestyles.