The Next Wave of Urban Growth

Where the Next Wave of Urban Growth Will Come From, the Harvard Business Review looks at a study from McKinsey, detailing the economic centrality of cities, vs. national economies.  Large cities and modest countries are now of the same scale, and cities are growing much much faster, economically.  If you’re going where the market is, most likely, it’s in a bunch of towns you’ve never heard of, each with a population of several million.  Mad change.

The Neapolitan Mob’s Most Dangerous Family

A character sketch of Paolo di Lauro, one of the Neapolitan Camorra’s former leaders.  Southern Italy it seems, like some parts of Mexico, operates with more than one quasi-state organization governing in parallel.  A tacit negotiation between the official and unofficial systems, which sometimes erupts into violence — ironically, at those times when the so-called “criminal” organizations have become weak.

Occupy Oakland’s Port Action

ZunguZungu’s account of the Occupy Oakland Port Action.  I really wonder how far this all will go.  It’s amazing how the informational connections we’ve created in the world are playing out.  How quickly things echo and get re-interpreted by new minds.  The derivative is still positive, so far as I can tell.

US Ikea workers complain about factory conditions

There’s some controversy over working conditions at an Ikea plant in Virginia.  Apparently wages start at $8/hr, with 12 days of paid vacation (8 of which are determined by the company).  Oh, and also you’ll often be informed Friday evening that you have no choice but to work over the weekend too.  And don’t even think about unionizing.  Sweet!  It’s just like we keep saying about all those workers in China that make our cheap plastic crap.  “At least they’ve got jobs.”  I sense that we’re going to have to re-learn all of the lessons about balancing the rights of labor and capital that we already learned so bloodily about 100 years ago.  Only now, maybe we get to learn it in the context of becoming an exploited low-wage nation in a global economy.  Ikea workers doing the same jobs in Sweden make $19/hr and get 5 weeks of paid vacation a year.  And they’re all unionized.

Moms market

Further developments in India’s commercial surrogacy market.  As the government mulls more detailed regulations, existing rules are already being neatly side-stepped.  For instance, sex-selection is not permitted in India, but it is in Panama, so the embryo screening is done on the isthmus, with those selected forwarded to the subcontinent for implantation.  Egg banks in India now stock a wide variety of ethnic backgrounds from international donors.  It’s a baby smorgasbord.  Gattaca, here we come!