Can Thais Find Peaceful Reform?

Mass political uprisings continue to ring the globe—Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Nigeria and Thailand at the moment—and as always a big question is whether the political ferment will culminate in widespread violence. The situation in Bangkok is probably of most interest to Westerners because of travel familiarity—its airports are the busiest such international hubs in the world.Continue reading “Can Thais Find Peaceful Reform?”

The Watchman’s Work Is Hardly Done

When the dust settles from the pandemic blowout of U.S. employment, I’ll be interested to see how many security guards this anxious nation has retained. Although optical technologies ranging from robots to drones, plus the omnipresent video-cam in the corner, have made the watchman an endangered species in some analysts’ eyes, through 2019 the jobContinue reading “The Watchman’s Work Is Hardly Done”

Punish the Prudent: Fed v. Savers

“Coupon clippers” is not a description Americans aspire to fit. In the French, they are rentiers, those who live off the regular payments of others. The words have the whiff of an idle, leisure class–parasitical in many eyes. But what they are (or their forebears were) are savers, a rather more virtuous-seeming lot. Yet evenContinue reading “Punish the Prudent: Fed v. Savers”

South Africa: The Clouds Return

08/24/2020 Emerging markets are under stress again in the global downturn that’s accompanied the Covid-19 pandemic. Few of their stories are as compelling to a world audience—and as exasperating–as South Africa’s. Prolonged African successes are still exceptional, and so many wanted to believe that after the Nelson Mandela presidency his country had been redeemed fromContinue reading “South Africa: The Clouds Return”

Where Will Americans Sweat It Out Now?

08/21/20 “The gym” has been one of the last spots to reopen in the pandemic. Most of the U.S. has gotten there, but only this Monday are such indoor workout spaces permitted to operate, with one-third capacity, in New York State. Required inspections are delaying this further in the Big Apple. And New Jersey’s governorContinue reading “Where Will Americans Sweat It Out Now?”

A Requiem for Old Hong Kong

08/12/2020 The fact that Hong Kong publisher Jimmy Lai and other dissidents have been freed on bail after their latest arrest shows that even under new security laws imposed by Beijing, the Special Administrative Region still enjoys a distinction from Chinese mainland legal practices.  Arrestees there do not soon emerge from incarceration pre-trial—sometimes never. ThisContinue reading “A Requiem for Old Hong Kong”

Wage Work: The Foggy 2-Year Window

08/07/2020 Nothing in today’s jobless data changes this picture: Western nations and especially the U.S., with its fluid labor force, face the daunting  prospect over the next few years of millions of workers without demand for their previous form of work. I say that, mindful of the hazards of projecting even slightly into the futureContinue reading “Wage Work: The Foggy 2-Year Window”

Help Preserve the Local News…All of it.

07/29/2020 Initiatives such as Report for America are tackling the crisis of local (and state) journalism, which has seen the rapid depletion of reporting ranks at newspapers and other media across the country. (See for reference the new book  “Ghosting the News”  by Margaret Sullivan of the Washington Post.) Often these efforts to shore upContinue reading “Help Preserve the Local News…All of it.”

The Shaping of the Modern Hamptons

Summary of Current Research From 1967, when a legislative ally of Gov. Nelson Rockefeller carried a bill to extend the Sunrise Highway through the undisturbed farm-woodlands belt of the Hamptons to Amagansett, to 1999, when the Community Preservation Fund became law to preserve open space on Long Island’s East End through a surtax on propertyContinue reading “The Shaping of the Modern Hamptons”