The Bad News Behind California’s Good Times

Economic Busts Are Bad in the Golden State, but Booms Can Be Even Worse

Californians, being tougher than we look, have always found ways to survive our economic busts.

It’s the booms that bring us to our breaking point.

This essential truth is being missed in the way we talk about life in today’s California.

Right now, politicians and media alike are juxtaposing the hallmarks of California’s current boom with our deep problems—as if they represented a contradiction, and a puzzle. How can a place be so wealthy and innovative and progressive, they ask, and yet so poor and calamitous and ungenerous at the same time?

“California …

America Takes a Capitalist Licking and Keeps on Ticking

The U.S. Owes Its Prosperity, in Part, to Its Tolerance for Bad Times, Says The Economist’s Adrian Wooldridge

The United States enjoys a special place atop the global economic heap, driven in large by Americans’ willingness to embrace change—even when it hurts.

But the country’s remarkable run could be …

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 …

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 …