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 …

The Radical Paradox of Sweden’s Consensus Culture

Our Inclination to Agree Pushes Political and Social Policies to Extremes

In the 1930s, the American journalist Marquis Childs, after spending time in Sweden, wrote the bestselling book Sweden: The Middle Way. Childs described a country without major social conflicts between …

Why ‘Frankenstein’ Is a Great Science Policy Guide for the Future

Mary Shelley's 200-Year-Old Fable Explores the Tension Between Scientific Creativity and Social Responsibility

Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, Mary Shelley’s epic tale about the perils of scientific creation, turns 200 this year. Its famous creation story involves laudanum, and sexual tension, and an …

Think Big, California!

Lacking Ambitious Goals, the State Seems Content to Drift, Waste Money, and Keep Doing the Same Old Things

In today’s California, we set big, ambitious goals for improving energy efficiency, fighting climate change, and, well, not much else.

Governor Jerry Brown’s inaugural address this month was a case in …

The Windy City Says Bring It On, Immigration Reform

Chicago Can Process the Paperwork, Integrate the Newcomers, and Get Them Working

What might comprehensive immigration reform look like—around the country and in Chicago, a longtime city of immigrants—if Congress passes a bill that gives the 11 million undocumented people living in …

First Comes Immigration Reform, Then Comes … What?

Assessing the Challenges Facing a Half-Million Chicagoans

Congress’ passage of a comprehensive immigration reform (CIR) bill would mark the end of a contentious political battle. But for undocumented immigrants all over the country—as well as their families, …