Arguing over economic inequality is necessary but insufficient. In this digital age, we have to invest in institutions that bind us together – things like families, local communities, shared experiences, shared culture, and shared sources of Truth. We need to set aside the liberal fiction that we’re autonomous agents who exist only to pursue our narrow self-interest, and return to a more holistic understanding that we’re individuals enmeshed in webs of relationships; that in addition to rights, we have responsibilities to one another; and that it’s only when communities thrive that individuals can flourish.
Sitting outside of Cantina, a Mexican restaurant in the Hunters Point area of Long Island City, yesterday, I stared at the glass towers and wide side walks around me. I took in the street-level retail -- a handful of restaurants and a coffee shop -- and noted the playing fields in the middle of it all. I watched as masked couples pushed strollers by... The neighborhood felt soulless and I was struggling to put my finger on why.
One of the themes I've been tracking through this project is the power of entrepreneurship and small business not just to create jobs and wealth, but to serve as integral parts of local communities. This is something I think a lot about in my work with early stage healthcare companies — how can even venture-backed … Continue reading NYT: COVID is Showing Us Which Entrepreneurs Matter
Last fall, I put together a piece examining the death of local news, why it matters, and why we should get serious about public funding to save it. The crux of my argument boils down to this: [L]osing local journalism is something that should worry us. It’s not just about an antiquated technology or business … Continue reading Medium: “The Public Option”
After a while, I lost track of how many articles I read during my twenties about how Millennials "refuse to grow up." We were putting off marriage, not buying our first homes, not having kids, and not settling down in our careers, the trope went, because we were in a state of "extended adolescence." (Somehow, … Continue reading WaPo: ‘We Need a Major Redesign of Life’
Great read in yesterday's Times about the economic and cultural headwinds to having a family in this day and age. The piece, "The End of Babies" by writer Anna Louie Sussman, starts with the mystery. Declining fertility isn't just a consequence of policies: If any country should be stocked with babies, it is Denmark. The country is … Continue reading NYT: The End of Babies
A Nobel prize winning economist, an urban planner named Coyote, and a New York Times reporter venture into the desert... No, it’s not the setup to a joke. On the contrary, it’s the framing for an interesting profile of Paul Romer, 2018 winner of the Nobel prize in economics, in yesterday’s Times, who is attending … Continue reading When an economist goes to Burning Man
It's 2059. The results of a study on the ability of genetic engineering to help poor kids escape poverty are out and they're not pretty. It turns out that even a high IQ can't overcome structural inequality. Or, at least that's the scenario presented as part of a new oped series from the Times, which … Continue reading Towards social policy rooted in social networks (the IRL kind)
Originally Published in The Journal News (LoHud.com), Friday, May 24, 2019. Let me start with a confession: I haven’t lived in the lower Hudson Valley for the past 10 years. But my parents still do. And every time I’m back to visit, I can’t get over the transformation in the river towns, particularly Peekskill, near … Continue reading Journal News (LoHud.com): What We Can Learn From Peekskill’s Revival
A few weeks ago, I was asked to give a "persuasive talk" at work. I decided to share an overview of this project, and argued that when it comes to our personal philosophies and politics, we should prioritize community connections -- and not just meritocratic gain. I don't know how persuasive I was. But here … Continue reading Why Social Capital Matters