A compilation of news links about and for regional communities pursuing local and regional development.
Published on line since November 11, 2003.
Top Regional Community stories … 1. – 9.
Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet … 11.01 - .15
Blogging about Regional Communities … 12.01 - .10
Announcements and Regional Links … 13.01 - .04
Financial Crisis …14.01 - .05
Bold Italic highlights search terms and/or phrases of interest.
Top Regional Community stories
In lieu of an economic forecast for 2009 I will share my observations on the trends that will drive the regional economy over the short and near term. These are a synthesis of ideas in other posts on this blog.
…To glean the scope of local shifts the Columbia River Economic Development Council did not go to the Wall Street Journal but to the 130 business investors in the organization. …
The Primary Focus of Banks Will Be to Collect, Not Lend, Money
Banking (access to credit), especially for our regional community banks, will not return to normal in the near future. …
Development Takes a Sabbatical
I take no pleasure in pointing out the obvious: residential, commercial and speculative industrial development will not recover within the next five years. …
If You Are Looking for Growth/ Revenue, Follow the Stimulus
The development industry from consulting to contracting is focused (dependent?) on public sector projects. …
With the collapse of the Commercial Mortgage Backed Security (CMBS) market and the stampede for the exits by traditional long term financers (e.g. insurance companies) there is an almost total lack of capital for long term development financing. …
Manufacturing for the Niches
Manufacturing will remain a component of the regional economy. …
Definition of Incongruence: Public Expectation of Services and Willingness to Pay
Government has spent the last decade learning to do more with less. …
Retail Commercial Flips Upside Down
It’s Chic to Be Cheap
Consumers are purchasing down-market products both because of necessity and because they are being effected by the negative consumer sentiment. …
For Healthcare the Gig Is Up
2. West Michigan Regional Policy Conference update in Kalamazoo an opportunity to bridge region - MLive.com - MI, USA
When the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce announced its West Michigan Regional Policy Conference in 2008, its four co-chairs all came from the Grand Rapids area: Jeff Connolly, of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan; James Dunlap, of Huntington Bank; Doug DeVos, of Amway Corp.; and Peter Secchia, of SIBSCO.
The conference was a massive and daring undertaking for a chamber of modest size. It turned logically to the individuals of influence with whom it was most familiar to help its inaugural venture succeed, then sought the participation of nearby cities in the region.
Some, including the Kalamazoo Regional Chamber of Commerce and Southwest Michigan First, attended the conference — many did not.
Now, as the bi-annual conference enters the year of its second gathering, it is making a stronger effort to reach out to the neighbors of this region. The
Have you ever heard Peter Secchia speak? If not, get thee to this event. No, seriously, it will be worth it.
Whether you agree with the business leader’s politics, you cannot deny he comes to the podium with passion and candor. And therein lies the key to true regionalism.
We need to accept that
Can we overcome it? Can we reach agreement on any business issues? Can we come together as a region?
If we can’t bridge these divides, I fear what it means for the future of our state.
But the key qualities we possess in common in
The new year means new starts, new hopes, new ideas and—for some—a new hangover. Welcome to the first day of 2010. Drink in one man’s wish list for the next 12 months:
A job-generating industry— Hey, if you cannot wish big, why bother? I have lived here nearly 30 years and I— we—still await an economic engine half as powerful as the steel mills and full-throttle auto plants that once fueled
There is plenty of promise and pretenders. Bioinformatics remains more about potential than payoff. …
Until we find job-growing industries, the landscape will not change. God, are you listening?
Less government— Our clutter of boundaries inflates the number of local politicians, jacks up the cost of delivering services and reinforces the small-picture thinking that keeps us battling among ourselves instead of fighting together for our share of the global economy. Any elected official who claims he is indispensable should be sent to
Regional sanity— Little makes less sense to me than the stretch of small manufacturers lining
4. Regionalizing transportation a core value behind creation of RTA - Arizona Daily Star -
One of the most effective and unifying endeavors by our citizens was the creation of the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA), sculpted in large part by its Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC), on which I was honored to serve.
The CAC brought together diverse groups and "communities" to sit down together to address
If we couldn
Second to the RTA
As a new-car dealer at the time, needless to say, I didn
However, in the spirit of regionalism and cooperation, talks evolved within the CAC to the point where I made a motion that would devote approximately 30 percent of the RTA budget toward public transportation. The motion passed and, in 2006, the RTA plan was approved by the voters.
For more than 40 years, civic and elected leaders have lauded regionalism as a worthy economic pursuit that is just waiting for somebody to get the ball rolling.
Yet, it has proved difficult to persuade those same leaders to pour money into a joint account to assist economic initiatives with potential regional impact. Equally challenging has been getting elected officials to provide money for projects in other counties.
The latest, and perhaps most ambitious, attempt at regionalism is coming from the Piedmont Triad Leadership Group.
The group, whose chairman is Kelly King, the chief executive of BB&T Corp., has received pledges from more than 30 investors worth a combined $6.5 million over five years.
That includes …
The Piedmont Triad Partnership has identified four industry sectors to benefit from the money: home furnishings, logistics and distribution, nanotechnology, and regenerative medicine.
Both King and Jim Morgan, the chairman of the partnership for 2009-10, took time recently to discuss the initiative and why they think that this effort will gain traction in the Triad.
An edited version of their comments follows:
Q. What made this fund-raising effort work in ways that previous efforts did not?
King: The real difference is that the fundraising followed the consensus that we built -- that we could no longer continue to operate in the future as we have in the past if we expect things to improve.
In the past, there have been debates and disagreements about theoretical or philosophical issues. If we don
6. Leadership Northern Colorado aims for regional success - Northern Colorado Business Report -
Regional economies are the most relevant in today
Michael Langley, founder and president of Pittsburgh-based consulting firm Langley Group, addressed the 30-member class and other members of the business community about the importance of regionalism.
"Every region is becoming more relevant in the global economy," he said at the Embassy Suites-Loveland.
"Success in regions doesn
Leadership Northern Colorado was launched as a partnership of the
7. Editorial: Regionalism out of whack - Salisbury Post -
Officials here and in Cabarrus have ticked off some specific issues driving the disaffection. One is the sense that COG has worked at cross-purposes to Rowan and Cabarrus on devising a federally required plan to bring the area into compliance with air-quality standards. That, in turn, could jeopardize millions of federal dollars in highway improvement funds, including possible replacement of the
8. Idea of regional planning group has found favor in Conneaut - Ashtabula Star-Beacon -
A plan to make low-cost planning expertise available to every
Conneaut City Council this week approved a resolution of support for the Intra-Ashtabula County Regional Planning Corroboration and Association. The group would use the planning talents of people already in place and possibly those of people in adjoining counties.
“I’m happy to see Conneaut is in favor (of the concept),” Peggy Carlo, Ashtabula County Board of Commissioners’ president, said Tuesday.
The program is before commissioners, who are trying to enlist the support of
“It’s an opportunity to utilize the resources in the community,” Carlo said. “It’s an opportunity to look at regionalism.”
Conneaut council is intrigued because the organization could help the city revamp its zoning code without the need of expensive consultants. The city has kicked around a major overhaul of the code and recently decided the task would be too much for local talent. Instead of hiring a high-priced consultant, Conneaut could confer with the planning corroboration and use the planning experts on its roster.
“Conneaut’s zoning code could be their first project,” Law Director Lori Lamer said Monday night.
Participating communities probably would pay a membership fee based on population. In Conneaut’s case, the cost would be a few thousand dollars for planning/ zoning service, a steal compared with the price of consultants, Lamer said.
“It’s really a bargain,” she said. “I don’t think we can pass it up.”
The corroboration also could give the area a little more leverage to secure government grants and funding, said City Manager Robert Schaumleffel Jr. Regionalized programs find favor when the time comes to hand out money, he said.
9. Green Acres Is the Place to Be - WSJ.com -
While urban and suburban real estate is still generally under pressure, the rural market is holding up better in many areas, thanks in part to buyers such as the Dawleys. Sometimes dubbed "ruralpolitans," these city and town dwellers are looking at land as their new safe investment, one they hope could prove more stable than their jobs and 401(k)s -- and provide a better lifestyle.
Motivations can vary, but typically there are three groups: young people buying land as an asset or investment, with vague hopes to live on it someday; exurban commuters who have jobs in big towns or cities but want to escape the sprawl; and back-to-the-land types who want to dabble in hobby farming. While the 76 million-strong baby boomers eyeing retirement represent the largest ruralpolitan segment, they
Word Spy – ruralpolitan n. An urban dweller who moves to a rural area. Also: rural-politan. [Blend of rural and metropolitan.] —adj.
10. U.S. Regional Communities - sub-State, State or multi-State - in news articles.
In this and section 11, links to websites of organizations are added to the news excerpt when this is the first time an organization has been found. A goal of this newsletter is to find every regional council in the
.01 Top Planning Issues Of 2009
Over the course of the year, the editors of Planetizen review and post summaries of hundreds of articles, reports, books, studies, and editorials related to planning and urban development. Now, we take a look back at 2009 and the trends and issues that defined the year in urban planning. The economic recession infiltrated nearly every news story this year, especially in terms of urban planning and development. … The Great Recession … Shrinking Cities … The "Shovel-Ready" Conundrum … High-Speed Rail ... Transportation wonks are understandably excited by the vision and troubled by the implementation. As Rob Goodspeed, a Planetizen blogger, put it, "In reality, limited funds, our dysfunctional planning processes, and the historical lack of investment in rail will mean the U.S. will most likely end up with a diverse collection of regional rail systems that may not go that fast."
.02 Does Santa have gifts for Miss-Lou?
... with weather worries behind us, what should our community seek from Santa this holiday season? ... • Maybe the guy in the big red suit will also bring us some more togetherness so we can continue the work begun with the area’s regionalism effort. For several months, community leaders from
.03 When Did Your County
The economic crisis, which has claimed more than 5 million jobs since the recession began, did not strike the entire country at once. A map of employment gains or losses by county tells the story of how those job losses first struck in the most vulnerable regions and then spread rapidly to the rest of the country. As early as August 2007, for example—several months before the recession officially began—jobs were already on the decline in southwest
.04 Have the days of regionalism arrived?
Macon Telegraph - Macon, GA, USA
... Mayor Havrilla finally let the cat out of the bag. At least he realizes that G-RAMP, a proposed aircraft maintenance facility that would cost between $45 and $90 million, can’t succeed if it’s up to
90.3 WCPN ideastream® -
The Cleveland Foundation has poured 22 million dollars into the Fund For Our Economic Future over the past 6 years. It will reduce its contribution to just 300 thousand dollars over the next three years. The Fund acts as an umbrella organization that provides grants to groups like BioEnterprise, Team NEO and Nortech – groups dedicated to attracting businesses and capital to the region. Cleveland Foundation Vice President Robert Eckhardt says the foundation wants to have a more direct connection with those groups, and so is inviting them to apply directly for grants. Eckhardt: “As a community foundation and in these tough times we thought it was important to focus on the work that we had joined the fund and helped start the fund to do, which we would feel was much more the focus on the first order economic development than some of the other activities the fund had moved into.” Those other activities include making grants to encourage more inter-governmental collaborations as a way to promote regionalism. ...
.06 One for all: Regionalism,
Central Penn Business Journal -
If Pennsylvanians saw how well regionalism works elsewhere in the country, they
.07 One for all: Regionalism not a cure-all,
Central Penn Business Journal -
Regionalism often makes sense from a cost-saving and efficiency perspective, but it isn
.08 One for all: A regional discussion with Francis
Central Penn Business Journal -
It is not a stretch to say that Frank Haas Jr. has left his mark on
Q: Why have you made regionalism such a cornerstone of your career?
A: I think you have to start out by defining regionalism. Almost no two people define it the same way. Some people think of it as cooperating between municipalities, others think of it as consolidation between municipal facilities and municipal services. And the fact is, it means whatever the speaker says it means. ...
.09 One for all
Central Penn Business Journal -
.10 Partin: Cayce infrastructure investment helps region
The State -
Significantly, the new plant sets the stage for a regional approach as we tackle other growth challenges. This facility has been a true collaboration many years in the making. The city of
RC: Central Midlands Council of Governments http://www.centralmidlands.org/
.11 TEN best PROMISES WE HOPE
Yes! Weekly -
MAYOR BILL KNIGHT: PROMOTE REGIONALISM
During the campaign, mayoral candidate Bill Knight said he would like
.12 EDITORIAL: A few resolutions for the new year
• For Brooks Patterson: Commit to regionalism. Please. Automation Alley is a terrific example of a county initiative that became regional to the betterment of the county and the region. The haggling over aerotropolis and Cobo management has at times sounded more dedicated to killing action than to improving the plan on the table. ...
.13 Burying the Lede on
The New Republic -
... Another buried treasure in the story: Substantial majorities feel optimistic about the future of the region, including 79 percent of city dwellers (nowhere to go but up!), and 59 percent of suburbanites. The divisions that seem to drive the gloom and doom angle come from the analysis of how people feel about the services that their local government provides. Not surprisingly, city residents feel their services are poor and quality of life is declining, while suburbanites are much more content. The recognition of metropolitan connectedness won’t solve all of the region’s or city’s problems – particularly the appalling quality the city’s public schools. But it can advance regional competitiveness and may create the conditions for addressing the stark racial divisions between city and suburbs. Ignore the headline--this is cause for celebration.
.14 State Officials See 66-Point Plan As Guide To Prosperity
.15 Real Problems Demand Real Leadership
.16 In A Name
The Soccer Daily -
Once upon a time, there was an idea that the future for a handful of professional sports teams in
Saturday, December 19, was a big day in
.18 Seven RI communities seek to regionalize services
Mayor David N. Cicilline has submitted legislation to the General Assembly this week that would empower seven
.19 Chambers merge:
AnnArbor.com – MI,
The business advocacy groups for
11. Other Regional Community News for Our Local Planet Contents
.01 We May Be Born With an Urge to Help
The New York Times - NY,
When infants 18 months old see an unrelated adult whose hands are full and who needs assistance opening a door or picking up a dropped clothespin, they will immediately help, Michael Tomasello writes in “Why We Cooperate,” a book published in October. Dr. Tomasello, a developmental psychologist, is co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in
.02 Visualizing the Arctic Oscillation
The Arctic Oscillation is unusually strong right now. The consequences, a warm arctic and cold N Europe and E North America, are illustrated in the image Winter Temperatures and the Arctic Oscillation from NASA’s Earth Observatory’s Image of the Day: “If you live nearly anywhere in North America, Europe, or Asia, it’s no news that December 2009 and early January 2010 were cold. This image illustrates how cold December was compared to the average of temperatures recorded in December between 2000 and 2008. Blue points to colder than average land surface temperatures, while red indicates warmer temperatures. Much of the Northern Hemisphere experienced cold land surface temperatures, but the
.03 The Wealth and Poverty of Regions: Why Cities Matter - Mario Polèse - The University of
Synopsis: As the world becomes more interconnected through travel and electronic communication, many believe that physical places will become less important. But as Mario Polèse argues in The Wealth and Poverty of Regions, geography will matter more than ever before in a world where distance is allegedly dead.
This provocative book surveys the globe, from
Link and Google Preview: http://www.press.uchicago.edu/presssite/metadata.epl?mode=synopsis&bookkey=1226388
.04 Sander van der Leeuw: The Archaeology of Innovation
Long Now Foundation – FORA-TV
Summary: Are we the first civilization to try and innovate our way out of climate change? How have past societies engineered sustainable solutions to a shifting world? Sander van der Leeuw, Director of the
Professor van der Leeuw … His research interests have been in archaeological theory, reconstruction of ancient ceramic technologies, regional archaeology, (ancient and modern) man-land relationships, GIS and modelling, and Complex Systems Theory. He did archaeological fieldwork in
Since 1992, he has been involved in a series of research projects financed by the European Union in the area of socio-natural interactions and environmental problems. Among these projects are ARCHAEOMEDES I (1992-1994) and II (1996-1999), concerned with understanding and modelling the natural and anthropogenic causes of desertification, land degradation and land abandonment and their spatial manifestations, and "Environmental Perception and Policy Making" (1994-1996), all of which he coordinated. In the case of the ARCHAEOMEDES Projects, up to 65 researchers from 11 European institutions were involved, which included disciplines from Physics, Mathematics and Computing, via Geology, Hydrology and the Life Sciences to Sociology, Social Anthropology, History and Archaeology. …
.05 Caricom needs a new economic model — Jagdeo
Kaieteur News -
As we enter into a New Year — 2010 — one wonders what will be the future of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), since there is dissatisfaction in many quarters about the regional grouping, especially at this time when hundreds of Guyanese and other CARICOM nationals were forced to leave Barbados, another CARICOM state, following the expiration of the new immigration policy ... The CARICOM Community was established in August 1973 as the Treaty of Chaguaramas with the English-speaking Caribbean. In 1995, the Dutch-speaking
.06 Lee proposes liaison offices with North
"Election system reform is also a task that must be completed this year as it is essential for taming extreme regionalism and overcoming the politics of confrontation," he said. Ahead of the June local elections, the government will push more aggressively for regional development policies. He said the government will accelerate its new mega-regional economic zone scheme which emphasizes economic agglomeration, regional interconnection and specialized competitiveness. "This year, strategies specifically tailored to bring about regional development will begin to bear fruit. The economic recovery must also be felt in the regions," he said. ...
.07 The case for messy multilateralism
Financial Times -
Multilateralism is not one thing but many. The issue takes on a new urgency in the aftermath of the recent
Residents of Moyale in the upper eastern region of
.09 Funding biological data resources revisited
It is time for a whole new approach. Front-line biology cannot function without these resources, so solutions must be found at both national and international levels. That’s from an editorial in Nature talking about the need to change the way data resources are funded, ... What is the right model? It’s a combination of factors. ... Sustaining a data resource of any kind requires a dedicated team, a team of software engineers, curators, informaticians and biologists and funding that understands that these need to be maintained. ...
A joint venture between Dengfeng, the city where the ancient Buddhist temple is located, and the state-run China Travel Service (CTS) will be listed in either Hong Kong or
.11 Sandžak officials angered over regionalization
Leaders of three Sandžak parties reacted to news that the government is not planning to include six municipalities of the Sandaćak in one statistical region. They claim that the adopted government decree goes against all the guarantees given to officials of the Bosniak (Muslim) minority by the government. ... Ugljanin said that the problem occurred because of "oversights made by the state administration". The map of the statistical regions was made by the Statistical Office, and was checked by the European Agency for Statistics, which confirmed that it met all European criteria before adoption, reports said. In order for a territory to become a statistical region, it must have a population of 800,000. The law on regional development was adopted in July 2009.
Moroccan Post -
... create a unique national system for regionalization, away from professional imitation and formal cloning of foreign experiments. Our ultimate goal is to establish a pioneering example of regionalism for developing countries and to establish the special position of our country as an example to follow in taking courageous national positions and finding creative Moroccan responses to
.13 Advisory Committee on Regionalization holds first meeting in
Maghreb Arabe Presse -
The Advisory Committee on Regionalization, set up on Sunday by HM King Mohammed VI, held, here on Monday, its first meeting. ... Its mission is to propose a general conception of regionalization, while bearing in mind its relevant dimensions and the role of competent constitutional institutions in its implementation.
.14 2010 preview: What next?
.15 11 daring predictions for 2010
Socially Savvy - While the concept of a social networking guru might seem quaint by 2013 (do you have a photocopier guru in your office?), there is an opportunity in 2010 for people who really understand how to make social networking happen within the enterprise. While there are still a lot of carpetbaggers and "gee-whiz" cheerleaders playing in this market, I still find that there are a lot of people who don
12. Blogging about Regional Communities Contents
.01 Transition Town-Country Initiatives - Cascadia Bioregion
A place to post your beginning Transition Initiative efforts in the cascadia bioregion, and receive encouragement & advice from your bioregional neighbors. ... This list is growing, and new Transition Initiatives can be found at:
.02 Envisioning Your Perfect Global Virtual Community... Visioning Your Perfect REALNEO
After five years of operation, REALNEO has reached a critical mass of content and activity generating significant global traffic over time. We have developed mature referral networks, good public awareness in broad, important sectors, and excellent search results, expanding our new and return visitor activity daily. Our demographics have mature, recognizable characteristics... but, who are we?.
As part of 2010 REALNEO/COOP Annual Planning and reporting, we will review benchmarking analyses of activity and demographics of REALNEO.US and dozens of other websites with interests like REALNEO, including comparative analysis of visitors
.03 VT Community Development grant app workshop
Please save the date, the Vermont Community Development Program (VCDP) will be hosting an application workshop on Wednesday, February 3, 2010 here at our offices at National Life (6th Floor Calvin Coolidge Room), 1 National Life Drive, Montpelier, Vermont. Registration and refreshments will begin at 8:30AM with the program starting at 9AM. Please find the agenda attached. Starting January 13, 2010 you will be able to register online for the event and will have the option to pay by check or credit card, … The registration fee for this workshop will be $20. ...
.04 And the
The Daily Score
On January 4,
.05 A New Market For
Robert LaValva: The New Amsterdam Market has evolved over the past four years—our first market was in October, 2005—into a reinvented public-civic space that was last seen in
G: What do you mean by “regional” and how does this relate to our understanding of “local”? How far does the New Amsterdam Market region extend?
RV: Grocers, cheesemongers, and butchers as well as farmers are included as market vendors. They are sourcing from local farms and make up a collection of new small businesses that are contributing to the natural evolution of the growing awareness around food. I try to use “regional” whenever possible as we have drawn a broad circle around the city. With a huge metro area all around
.06 Intentional community in
... how are your community plans going? what is the name of the community in
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nlMDckgqU30 Communities Magazine editor Diana Leafe Christian interview about the book: "Practical Tools to Grow an Intentional Community"
.07 Regional Funders Perspective on Collaboration
.08 Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2009 published today (Dec 14)
European Regional Innovation Scoreboard 2.0.
A new Regional Innovation Scoreboard (RIS) has been published today Dec. 14 assessing innovation performances across 201 regions in the EU and
Kerry B. Collison Asia News
.10 Bioregional ecological economics: a prescription for health:
"Eco-economics" means bioregionally-scaled economies designed on the basis of ecological principles. It means running an economy the way nature runs a forest. Ecological principles mandate decentralization, deconcentration, and regionalization of our economic systems. As much as possible, there must be local production, consumption, and full-scale recycling, drawing from local resources. It further mandates that no economic activity be allowed that is destructive or compromising to the ecological integrity of the region within which it takes place. Under bioregional economics," capital and resources are cycled within the region. As little as possible is allowed to "leak out." …
13. Announcements and Regional Links. Contents
Please note that the event will include a simultaneous live, interactive webcast, for those who are not able to attend in person.
The United Nations University Office at the UN,
As Professor McGann notes in an article written for Foreign Policy, think tanks, also called governments in waiting, are needed by leaders around the world to provide independent analysis, help set policy agendas, and bridge the gap between academia and policy-making. Professor McGann will discuss his recent work on a comprehensive ranking of the world
.02 2010 National Conference of Regions - February 21-23, 2010 -
This conference will focus on the Obama Administration’s priorities, Congressional activities, and critical policy issues and pending federal legislation that will impact regions. The 2010 National Conference of Regions
Contact: Lindsey Riley, Member Services Manager email@example.com
Agenda and registration: http://narc.org/events/conferences/ncr/2010-national-conference-of-regions.html
.03 Innovation and the American Metropolis - April 16, 2010 –
.04 Office of Advocacy –
The voice for small business in the federal government and the source for small business statistics. …
States with higher gross state product growth are more likely to attract highly mobile and high-achieving college graduates, both self-employed and wage-and-salary workers, according an Advocacy paper, Educational Attainment, “Brain Drain,” and Self-employment: Examining the Interstate Mobility of Baccalaureate Graduates, 1993-2003.
Much has been said about small employers of up to 500 workers, but little is known about the three-quarters of firms in the economy that are “nonemployers,” generating full- or part-time work for their owners. A new study, The Nonemployer Startup Puzzle, examines basic statistics about the entry and exit of these very small firms.
14. Financial Crisis. Contents
.01 CASH-STARVED STATES NEED TO PLAY THE BANKING GAME:
One of the four states that is not insolvent is an unlikely candidate for the distinction –
What does the State of
Still, you may ask, how does that solve the solvency problem? Isn’t the state still limited to spending only the money it has? The answer is no. Certified, card-carrying bankers are allowed to do something nobody else can do: they can create “credit” with accounting entries on their books.
.02 Drug money saved banks in global crisis, claims UN advisor – The Observer - guardian.co.uk
Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis, the United Nations
Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organised crime were "the only liquid investment capital" available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result.
This will raise questions about crime
IPS: French President Nicolas Sarkozy asked award-winning economists Joseph Stiglitz and Amartya Sen, and 20 other experts to find new ways to measure growth. The panel issued a report that says that countries need to find ways to measure happiness and well-being alongside raw economic growth. How would this new way of measuring growth affect poor countries?
HH: The Stiglitz-Sen report is moving in the right direction but too slowly and is still trapped intellectually in the now-defunct "economics box".
Complex human societies can never be measured by using a single discipline, especially by economics which was never a science. Economic calculations are blind to most of the social and environmental costs its narrow decisions impose on others, reframed as "externalities," i.e., costs companies and projects omit from their balance sheets. These uncounted impacts of financial decisions have accumulated unnoticed by economists until they are now crises of poverty, inequality, social exclusion and pollution - culminating in the greatest market failure: climate chaos.
Stiglitz and Sen cannot see that new national indicators of "progress" must be multi-disciplinary and use many metrics as appropriate in the kind of systems approach used in the Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators, an alternative approach I designed with the Calvert Group, tracking 12 aspects of quality of life.
I am very cautious about "happiness" indicators because they are culturally dependent and too subjective (e.g., people living near a hidden toxic dump or drinking polluted water can say they are "happy" while ignorant of these dangers). Conservative economists and statisticians have seized on "happiness" surveys as an excuse to cut social welfare budgets.
.04 Is Financial System Dysfunctional? - Mostly Economics
Adair Turner’s speech and Prospect’s top 25 list alerted me to the work of Paul Woolley. Paul Woolley has worked in financial firms, at IMF, has taught in Univs etc. So he has seen it all.
He has been working to show how efficient financial markets theory is not right and we need a new paradigm.
He has set up a Paul Woolley Centre for the Study of Capital Market Dysfunctionality at LSE where much of the work is being done. ...
Is society well-served by its financial institutions? I am referring here to private sector institutions such as the banks, investment banks, fund managers, and capital markets generally, rather than the public sector bodies such as central banks and supra-national agencies. Surprisingly, the question is hardly ever posed, let alone attempts made to answer it. There seems to be a tacit, and more or less universal assumption that competitive markets are efficient markets and, since competition does not appear in short supply among financial institutions and investors, everyone seems to be happy.
Indeed the notion of efficiency lies at the core of finance theory. The belief in the efficacy of competition propounded by the classical economists from before Adam Smith, was applied formally to finance in the shape of the “Efficient Market Hypothesis” in the 1960s. The ability of equity markets to deliver efficient pricing leading to the most productive allocation of resources was unquestioned through the 1980’s and even now holds centre stage as the principal building block of academic finance.
But reality is different
By most measures finance has become the dominant industry sector accounting, for example, for between 30% and 40% of the aggregate profits of the quoted corporate sector in the US, UK and globally, compared with only around 10% forty years ago. What model can explain its dominance? It seems strange that an industry whose role is that of intermediation rather than the production of consumption goods and industry whose role it is to allocate resources, retains the biggest share for itself?
This is the formal statement of the problem.
.05 Funding and the patriotism test - Financial Times -
In recent months, some of the brightest minds at Moody’s rating agency have been mulling a fascinating question: should they introduce a formal rating of “social cohesion” into sovereign debt indices, when they judge whether a government is likely to default on its debt – or not?
So far, neither Moody’s nor any other agency has actually done this, after all it is pretty hard to feed a specific “cohesion” number into any model.
But the discussion points to a fundamental issue that will hang over bond markets this decade.
In the past few years, when markets have tried to judge the risk attached to western government bonds, they have typically done so looking at hard macro-economic data, such as projected gross domestic product. Such data, of course, continue to be critically important, given the size of the western fiscal hole.
What is becoming clear is that hard numbers do not tell the entire tale. What will be equally crucial in the coming years is not the sheer scale of debt, but whether governments can implement a rational and effective way of cutting it – and potentially allocating pain – without unleashing (at best) political instability, or (at worst) full blown revolution.
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