Anarchy in the U.K.: How the Pundits Got it Wrong

August 15, 2011

There’s a temptation to see a simple correlation between the recent riots in Britain and high levels of youth unemployment and lack of economic opportunity. A recent Guardian books blog, for example, takes note of how the rioters showed no interest in looting vulnerable Waterstone’s bookstores–reflecting the fact that bookstores are full of stuff that [...]

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Dollars to Doughnuts: One Way to Save Main Street

May 25, 2011

Slow food, microbrewing, real simple living: Call it the rebellion of the hipoisie. Young Urban Professionals with a Won’t Be Fooled Again agenda. And now comes the investing counterpart, locavesting. “Across the country people are figuring out ways to invest in their local businesses and communities. In the process, they are rebuilding economies, revitalizing downtowns [...]

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Appearing at Rhodes College next week

April 17, 2011

I will be speaking on “The American Company Town: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow” at Rhodes College in Memphis on Monday, April 25: Promoting the talk, I will also be appearing that morning on the local CBS television affiliate, WREG:

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Roebling, N.J., and the Company Town Tradition

April 8, 2011

Last night, I spoke at the Roebling Museum, a history museum dedicated to preserving the memory of the town where steel for many of America’s architectural wonders was produced. Here is a shortened version of my remarks: In 1895, George M. Pullman was called to testify before a federal commission investigating the causes of the [...]

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Can ‘Airworld’ Truly Be the City of the Future?

February 22, 2011

Business travel is in long-term decline. Rather than holding meetings at the Best Western in Kansas City, business has turned to teleconferences, Webinars, and facetime on Skype. IBM staffers conduct virtual-reality work meetings via Second Life, with avatars taking the place of people who’ve never actually seen each other. So who could believe that the City [...]

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“The Company Men” and The Family Firm

January 31, 2011

There’s a theory that family-run businesses have inherent limitations: If a modern company is to attain any measure of “scale and scope,” the theory says, control by owners has to give way to decision-making by a cadre of trained and experienced professional managers. “Personal” management by original entrepreneurs and their too-often-incompetent relations often results in [...]

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Need Shelter? Just Google It…

January 26, 2011

Maybe Google should have its own Secretary of Housing & Urban Development. After all, somebody there seems very into giving shelter, not only to company employees but to other deserving folks as well. Back in November, I wrote about Google’s expanding California real-estate holdings, which amounted to over 4 million square feet. The company had [...]

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Is Tucson To Blame For The Violence?

January 14, 2011

“I wish he wouldn’t come,” she said. The Tucson resident worried that President Barack Obama’s appearance at a memoriam for those recently killed in her city would somehow reinforce the idea that Tucson was an environment that fostered such violence. Her worry is understandable. I remember when, in the days following Martin Luther King’s 1968 [...]

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From Reviewer to Author, It’s a Bit of a Jump

January 2, 2011

I’ve written a short article for Publishers Weekly on the odd transition from being a book review editor to being a book author. One week, you’re the judge–and the next, the judged. Physician, heal thyself.

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A Key Reason the Unemployed Suffer

December 28, 2010

An interesting observation from John Kenneth Galbraith: “The organization man has been a subject of much sorrow. But all who weep should recall that he surrenders to organization because organization does more for him than he can do for himself….the mature corporation has the prestige which induces and encourages the individual to accept its goals [...]

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