Desperate Times: A Letter from Puerto Rico

by Víctor A. Ramírez García …This is how lands were distributed to the people that remained and, since they were few, … each person received such large tracts that even today they lay fallow, … abandoned to the beasts. This vice, so entrenched in Puerto Rico, is the main obstacle that has retarded progress since … Read more

On (Perfect) Competition

Economics has rather a bad name, these days. Nonspecialists (like, say, “the 99 percent”) see the discipline as either haplessly self-referential, or as an efficient set of wealth-consolidation tools for the wealthy. But we might not want to be so quick to reject the “Econ” department. Perhaps the field offers some concepts that can be … Read more

Value Capture: I’m Lovin’ It

Economic news sometimes manages to tickle the heel of our crazily careening Trumped-up news cycle. Recently, the issue of “value capture” has been able to tickle the heel of the economic news. That’s right, people; it’s that big a deal. This is a bit frustrating to those of us who think this is a vital … Read more

Sandtown: Too Far Down?

When do we just walk away? How far down does a neighborhood, or a city (or a nation, or a planet) have to go before we accept that the cause is lost, that no reform or movement can save it? Ursula LeGuin’s “Hainish” series of novels deals with a federation of planets, far in the … Read more

Flooding in Houston: No Real Surprise

Officials kept telling interviewers that nothing on this level had ever happened, that the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey was a millennial event. This seems to have been both true and not true — and really, more the latter. Turns out that this is the third 500-year flooding event Houston has seen in the last … Read more