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Empire State of Crisis

Two new books—Benjamin Holtzman’s The Long Crisis and Thomas Dyja’s New York, New York, New York—ditch the clichés, old and new, and use two starkly different styles of research and writing to arrive at the same conclusion, one that’s no less accurate for being yet another cliché. Ideologically, culturally, economically, whatever-ally, New York City is impossible to categorize.

Working Americans Are Speaking. Are Politicians Listening?

In an adaptation of his conclusion to the Edgerton Essays anthology, Patrick T. Brown discusses what he learned from editing the collection of perspectives from the working class.

How to Fix Widespread Buyer’s Remorse in Education

Almost two-thirds of U.S. high school graduates enroll immediately in some form of postsecondary education with a clear-cut motive. In 2019, 83.5% of entering freshmen said that getting a better job was a “very important” reason for attending college, up from a 1976 low of 68%. Are these expectations realized? Mostly no.

A Collective Cure to Privacy Threats

Privacy is another major casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic. Governments instituted expansive surveillance programs to enable contact tracing and corral the disease. Many of these programs are here to stay, as citizens get used to them or welcome them to avoid future quarantine and lockdowns.

Unemployment and the Labors of Love

As I was reading sociologist Sarah Damaske’s new book, The Tolls of Uncertainty: How Privilege and the Guilt Gap Shape Unemployment in America, I was struck by a realization: though I’ve spent a good deal of the past 11 years interviewing working-class young adults in Ohio, I have met relatively few who have received unemployment insurance (UI).

America Should Bring Back a Financial Transaction Tax

American Compass policy director Chris Griswold makes the case for a financial transaction tax in the United States.

Don’t Leave Social Media Regulation to the Platforms, Bring in the FCC

Coming to terms with the importance of free speech means coming to terms with the reality that free speech will sometimes be used for abhorrent purposes. We protect bad speech on the grounds that the alternative—censorship—is even worse.

The Surprising Nordic Lesson for U.S. Welfare

Before the arrival of COVID-19, the U.S. was seeing growing numbers of people, especially men, dropping out of the workforce. Given the far-reaching effects of the pandemic, this will likely continue, even when labor demand is back to normal. The strong pull of streaming, video games, and social media will only make that trend worse. In this environment, one possible downside of cash payments is an additional incentive not to work.

Are You Better Off Than You Were Forty Years Ago?

American Compass executive director Oren Cass discusses economic shifts over the past 40 years and why economists and policymakers need to embrace a more holistic view of what it means to be “better off.”

Why Do Libertarians Support User Fees but Not a Family Wage?

Wages are to workers’ output what user fees are to highways and toll bridges.

A Template for Harnessing the Private Sector for the Public Good

Relying on “the market” or championing outsourcing in rising domestic costs might provide short term benefits. But ultimately, it undermines national prosperity by degrading valuable domestic social capital and skills.

High School and Beyond: Creating Pathways to Opportunity

The essential elements of a new opportunity program are what students know (knowledge) and whom they know (relationships).

mRNA vaccine vial
Operation Warp Speed Accelerated Biotech Innovation, Now What?

Warp Speed was a triumph of industrial policy, and its details offer a path to rebuilding American production of key medical products and industrial capabilities more generally.

The Problem of Tech Is Bigger Than Big Tech

The early years of a technological revolution are not, generally speaking, happy ones.

The Costs of Tech Policy Inaction

Regulatory skeptics make a fundamental mistake in assuming that the United States can freely choose between greater state intervention in digital markets and a continued laissez-faire approach.

Growing Pains

American Compass research director Wells King reviews two books on the de-growth movement.

How Technology Has Changed Our Jobs, Our Privacy, and Our Brains

American Compass research director Wells King discusses the wide-ranging effects of the digital revolution in an adaptation of Lost in the Super Market: Navigating the Digital Age.

Want More Humane Technology? Look to the Supermarket

Are we the passive victims of rapacious technology? Or fully knowledgeable about how technology works and in control of its role in our lives?

Reflections on the Digital Revolution

The problems and challenges posed by what is often referred to as “Big Tech” should primarily be understood as novel instantiations of age-old issues.

The ‘Uber Economy’ Needs Guardrails

If you are a freelancer like a lawyer or a doctor with a private practice, your experience is very different from a freelancer or contractor accessing work through online labor platforms like Upwork, Clickworker, Uber, or Amazon’s Mechanical Turk.

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