What George Bailey’s Building and Loan Company Can Still Teach Us About Banking

In His Time and Ours, Big Lenders Often Get a Pass, While Small Banks and the Communities They Serve Are Left Vulnerable

The bank run scene in It’s a Wonderful Life always makes me cry real tears. If you care about America, you should love the scene too—and not just because it is a brilliant piece of cinematic storytelling.

The scene unfolds as George Bailey, played by Jimmy Stewart, sets off on his honeymoon in a taxicab, only to realize that depositors have gathered outside a local bank, demanding their money. Instead of continuing on his honeymoon, George hustles to his beloved Bailey Building and Loan, where he finds it closed and hence …

Frank Capra’s Formula for Taming American Capitalism

It’s a Wonderful Life Prescribed Community and Empathy as the Remedy to a Callous Economic System

From the Gilded Age and until well into the Great Depression, Americans engaged in one of the most consequential debates in the country’s history: how best to address the economic …

Why Tariffs Have Backfired Throughout American History

As a U.S. Trade War With China Escalates, the Only Guarantee Is Unexpected Aftershocks

In a truly iconic scene from the 1980s comedy Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, a high school economics teacher played by Ben Stein fails to elicit even a muscle twitch from …

The Centuries-Old Silver Jug That Conjures the Mysteries of the Silk Road

Stretching From Rome and Africa to Asia, the Ancient Trade Route Lured Invaders, Migrants, and Merchants—and Left Artifacts Rich With Meaning

As China has promoted its Belt and Road Initiative—an ambitious plan to open new markets for China by building logistics and trade infrastructure from Asia to Europe and Africa—the Chinese …

Are Call Centers Rebranding the Philippines?

As the Global Economy's Biggest Back Office, the Nation Seeks to Depict Its Workers as Educated, Empathetic, and English Fluent

What changes in a country—and what doesn’t change—when it devotes itself to servicing the businesses of other countries?

Not long ago, I found myself looking for answers to that question in …

If You Can’t Beat the Bay Area, Join It

Solving Northern California's Toughest Problems Requires a New Megaregion, from San Francisco and Tahoe to the San Joaquin and Salinas Valleys

Welcome to the Bay Area, Merced!

Further north, welcome as well to Modesto, Sacramento, Placerville, and Yuba City. And, to the south, you’re invited, too, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, and …