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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I am still a Bitcoin trader

Mercer 21196

Mark Scott

Bitcoin: It isn't money, but you can trade it.

Just a quick update on my adventures in Bitcoin, the cyber- or crypto-currency I've written about several times — and traded!

There was what seemed to me like a Bitcoin bubble at the end of last year and the beginning of this. I made a nice return on my first trade and then set up what I thought would be a way to "short" Bitcoin for a while. As it turns out, the market at Mt.Gox has been sort of flat since then. So I haven't changed my position. 

Stay tuned for more!

If anyone want to speculate about why there was a run-up in BTC value in December and January, please do so in the comments. I welcome your point of view. Remember, the idea here isn't for me to make money. I've only bought $10 worth of BTC. I'm trying to learn more about cybercurrencies and how they behave.

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Invest with James: It's barter time!

Invest with James-Halloween-MDB

Matthew DeBord

After Halloween, James (left) has discovered the value of a barter economy. Lucia (right) looks on in awe.

Welcome to the second installment of "Invest with James," in which we learn about money, personal finance, and investing through the budding example of my almost-six-year-old son, James, who loves money and all that is associated with it.

Yesterday was Halloween, a day that is like Christmas, the Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Rio Carnival all rolled into one for my children. My daughter, Lucia, plans for Halloween in an elaborate, multi-phased way, months in advance, that culminates in the Big Night. 

James had been more of a bystander. But this year, he discovered that there's something of value in Halloween. And that something is called "candy."

Of course, he knew about the candy. But this year, rather than just eat it, he recognized it for the first time as a medium of exchange and an opportunity to create a market. Yes, this was the first year that he sat down with his sister to trade the sugary haul.

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