Explaining Southern California's economy

The future of business is with the world's big cities

Global Cities Initiative

A panel discussion at the Global Cities Initiative, which convened at USC on March 21 at USC in Los Angeles. On the agenda was the shift from trade between countries to trade between cities.

We're accustomed to thinking about global trade as being between countries or large political and economic entities, like the European Union. The U.S. trades with China. China trades with Europe. Australia trades with Japan. And so.

But that wasn't the story presented at the Global Cities Initiative conference I attended last week at USC. The event was put on by the Brookings Institution and J.P. Morgan Chase and featured a series of panels structured around the transformation of trade for something between countries to something between cities. 

The big driver here is that the world's emerging middle classes, in countries as divergent as China and Brazil (to name two of the real heavy hitters), are increasingly moving to cities, rather than staying in the countryside or establishing urban alternatives. 

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Eurozone crisis: Are we all Slovaks now?

Mercer 730

SAMUEL KUBANI/AFP/Getty Images

Did little Slovakia just exercise its muscle and kill the Euro bailout package?

The Slovaks have spoken! A nation with a population roughly the size the San Francisco area and a GDP of $86 billion has failed to ratify the eurozone's plan for it to contribute $10 billion — about 12 percent of that GDP — to the currency union's bailout plans. This is the latest chapter in a debt-crisis melodrama that's forcing Greece into default and threatening Italy, Spain, and the banks of German, France, and possibly the United States.

Slovakia was the only eurozone country that voted nay. This is from the New York Times:

If nothing else, the unwieldy process underscored how the entire $590 billion euro stability fund, approved by the 16 other members of the euro currency zone, could be held hostage to the domestic politics of one tiny country, in this case Slovakia. It showed as well how a measure intended to increase confidence in the euro zone could instead emerge as a telling example of the shortcomings of a system that relies on an unwieldy group of nations to make and execute difficult decisions.

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