Sunday, March 08, 2009

Two Interesting Posts

I apologize for the light blogging this week. Hopefully that will change this week. In the mean time I would like to point any and all readers to two totally different articles in The Atlantic

The first concerns the economy, and how America's metropolitan centers will change in the aftermath. Richard Florida's prognostication? NY, Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and other mega-cities with diverse "metabolic" economies will survive. St. Louis, Detroit, and the sunbelt cities that thrived from housing construction and artificially rising home values will suffer for a longer period of time (Phoenix and Las Vegas are specifically cited).

How would Florida deal with the mortgage crisis? Move away from the ownership society, which "distorts" the shape of the economy in his view:

So how do we move past the bubble, the crash, and an aging, obsolescent model of economic life? What’s the right spatial fix for the economy today, and how do we achieve it?

The solution begins with the removal of homeownership from its long-privileged place at the center of the U.S. economy. Substantial incentives for homeownership (from tax breaks to artificially low mortgage-interest rates) distort demand, encouraging people to buy bigger houses than they otherwise would. That means less spending on medical technology, or software, or alternative energy—the sectors and products that could drive U.S. growth and exports in the coming years. Artificial demand for bigger houses also skews residential patterns, leading to excessive low-density suburban growth. The measures that prop up this demand should be eliminated.

If anything, our government policies should encourage renting, not buying. ...

... The foreclosure crisis creates a real opportunity here. Instead of resisting foreclosures, the government should seek to facilitate them in ways that can minimize pain and disruption. Banks that take back homes, for instance, could be required to offer to rent each home to the previous homeowner, at market rates—which are typically lower than mortgage payments—for some number of years. (At the end of that period, the former homeowner could be given the option to repurchase the home at the prevailing market price.) A bigger, healthier rental market, with more choices, would make renting a more attractive option for many people; it would also make the economy as a whole more flexible and responsive.

Next, we need to encourage growth in the regions and cities that are best positioned to compete in the coming decades: the great mega-regions that already power the economy, and the smaller, talent-attracting innovation centers inside them—places like Silicon Valley, Boulder, Austin, and the North Carolina Research Triangle."


The second article concerns the debate over the gay person's place within the Anglican Community and the means by which Archbishop Rowan Williams moves the dialogue toward gay affirmation at a glacial, or Burkean evolutionary pace.

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