Economics

Center on Wealth, Poverty, and Morality

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The “Supermarket Sweep”

When I was a kid, a television show called Supermarket Sweep featured teams of middle Americans bolting through grocery store aisles and filling their carts with food, household products, and pet supplies. The show’s premise was that, for two minutes, the rule of law—in this case, the law against shoplifting—would be suspended. The team with the largest haul could take home their bounty of groceries, win prizes, and compete for the championship. Today, in some West Coast cities, the Supermarket Sweep isn’t a game show—it’s a dark reality, fueled by addiction, crime, and bad public policy. From Seattle to Los Angeles, a “shoplifting boom” is hitting major retailers, which deal with thousands of thefts, drug overdoses, and assaults each year. Since 2010, thefts increased by 22 percent in Portland, 50 percent in San Francisco, and 61 percent in Los Angeles. In total, California, Oregon, and Washington reported 864,326 thefts to the FBI last year. The real figure is likely much higher, as many retailers have stopped reporting most shoplifting incidents to police. Read More ›
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Jaffa Harbor, Israel
Jaffa Harbor, Israel
Photo by Shai Pal at Unsplash

Isolating the Biggest Problems in Israel

We all are beginning to understand what is right about Israel. It is at the pinnacle of human accomplishment in technology, innovation, culture and wealth. Amid a global slump, it is still growing at an annual rate near 5%. In startups, IPOs, and venture capital, it leads the world by any per-capita standard and in some ways by absolute metrics. Read More ›

New York Skyline

‘New Left Urbanists’ Want to Remake Your City

America’s big cities are almost all dominated by the Democratic Party, but the politics of urban development are far from monolithic. In the past few years, a new faction has emerged across the country. Call them the new left urbanists. These activists have big dreams. They want local governments to rebuild the urban environment—housing, transit, roads and tolls—to achieve social justice, racial justice and net-zero carbon emissions. They rally around slogans such as “ban all cars,” “raze the suburbs” and “single-family housing is white supremacy”—though they’re generally white and affluent themselves, often employed in public or semipublic roles in urban planning, housing development and social advocacy. They treat public housing, mass transit and bike lanes as a holy trinity, and they want to impose their religion on you. Read More ›
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Pushback

The political ground may be starting to shift in America’s bluest cities. While San Francisco, Seattle, and Denver remain reliable Democratic strongholds, a divide is opening between the cities’ activist political elite and a liberal, but more pragmatic, majority of voters. Read More ›
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Fake Dictionary, definition of the word Addiction.

Madness and Society

At six o’clock each morning, the alcoholics, addicts, and mentally ill residents of San Donato Val di Comino, Italy, emerge from their homes and congregate—sometimes together, but mostly alone—in the cafés around the town’s main square. Some of the hardened alcoholics order an espresso with a shot of liquor, then climb into work trucks and head out to farms and construction sites. The mentally ill—who suffer predominantly from depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia—order cups of coffee or sit at the patio tables emptyhanded, an indication that they have run out of cash for the month. Read More ›
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COSM

The COSM Conference is a premier national summit on the converging future of technology. Held in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, COSM highlights the interplay between global innovations and the pullulating Seattle scene of some of the world’s leading tech companies confronting the fastest moving opportunities. Focusing on the “systems of the world” competing to shape our economy and society, the mission of the conference …

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The facade of the Federal Reserve Bank.

Three Steps to Save America from Collapse

Our monetary system is broken. It’s given us low growth, a shrinking job force, inequality beyond what a healthy economy would produce, inefficiency, and the unnatural growth of finance as a portion of the economy. Our aging Federal Reserve System starves both small businesses and Silicon Valley of the capital needed to grow jobs and wages. Fed policy translates into Read More ›

Homeless-on-Bench

An Addiction Crisis Disguised as a Housing Crisis

By latest count, some 109,089 men and women are sleeping on the streets of major cities in California, Oregon, and Washington. The homelessness crisis in these cities has generated headlines and speculation about “root causes.” Progressive political activists allege that tech companies have inflated housing costs and forced middle-class people onto the streets. Declaring that “no two people living on Skid Row . . . ended up there for the same reasons,” Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, for his part, blames a housing shortage, stagnant wages, cuts to mental health services, domestic and sexual abuse, shortcomings in criminal justice, and a lack of resources for veterans. These factors may all have played a role, but the most pervasive cause of West Coast homelessness is clear: heroin, fentanyl, and synthetic opioids. Read More ›
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Book cover of Money, Greed, and God by Jay W. Richards

Money, Greed, and God

A prominent scholar reveals the surprising ways that capitalism is actually the best way to follow Jesus’s mandates to alleviate poverty and protect our earth. Christianity generally sees capitalism as either bad because it causes much of the world’s suffering, or good because God wants you to prosper and be rich. But there is a large, growing audience of evangelical Read More ›