California’s Third Brown Era

By Joel KotkinJanuary 03 2011

Appearing in: 
Forbes.com

Jerry Brown’s no-frills inauguration today as California governor will make headlines, but the meager celebration also marks the restoration of one of the country’s most illustrious political families. Save the Kennedys of Massachusetts no clan has dominated the political life of a major state in modern times than the Browns of California. A member of this old California Irish clan has been in statewide office for most of the past half century; by the end of Jerry Brown’s new term, his third, the family will have inhabited the California chief executive office for a remarkable two full decades since 1958.

Brown, at 72 the oldest governor in state history, may well determine the final legacy of this remarkable family. His biggest challenge will be to reverse the state’s long-term secular decline — a stark contrast to the heady days of the first Brown era, presided over by paterfamilias Edmund “Pat” Brown.

The Poverty Of Ambition: Why The West Is Losing To China And India - The New World Order

By MarkDecember 30 2010

Appearing in: 
Forbes.com

The last 10 years have been the worst for Western civilization since the 1930s. At the onset of the new millennium North America, Europe and Oceania stood at the cutting edge of the future, with new technologies and a lion’s share of the world’s GDP.  At its end, most of these economies limped, while economic power – and all the influence it can buy politically – had shifted to China, India and other developing countries.

A New Era For The City-state?

By Joel KotkinDecember 23 2010

Appearing in: 
Forbes.com

The city-state, a relic dating back to Classical or Renaissance times, is making a comeback. Driven by massive growth in global trade, shifts in economic power and the rise of emerging ethnic groups, today’s new independent cities have witnessed rapid, often startling, economic growth over the past decade.

An Interview with Joel on what Changing Class Structure Means for Politics

Joel Kotkin is one of America's most important demographers and futurists. In the 4 question interview below he hits Republicans where it hurts a bit (Democrats, too). We would all do well to pay attention. Here are the main points I take away:

Hasta La Vista, Failure

By Joel KotkinDecember 14 2010

Appearing in: 
Forbes.com

In his headier and hunkier days, Arnold Schwarzenegger spoke boldly about how “failure is not an option.” This kind of bravado worked well in the gym–and in a remarkable career that saw an inarticulate Austrian body-builder rise to the apex of Hollywood and California politics.

Education Wars: The New Battle For Brains

By Joel KotkinDecember 08 2010

Appearing in: 
Forbes.com

The end of stimulus — as well as the power shift in Congress — will have a profound effect on which regions and states can position themselves for the longer-term recovery. Nowhere will this be more critical than in the battle for brains.

In the past, and the present, places have competed for smart, high-skilled newcomers by building impressive physical infrastructure and offering incentives and inducements for companies or individuals. But the battle for the brains — and for long-term growth — is increasingly tied to whether a state can maintain or expand its state-supported higher education. This is particularly critical given the growing student debt crisis, which may make public institutions even more attractive to top students.

Demography vs. Geography: Understanding the Political Future

By Joel KotkinDecember 08 2010

Appearing in: 
The American

In the crushing wave that flattened much of the Democratic Party last month, two left-leaning states survived not only intact but in some ways bluer than before. New York and California, long-time rivals for supremacy, may both have seen better days; but for Democrats, at least, the prospects there seem better than ever.

Korea Conflict Shows That Borderlands Are Zones of Danger

By Joel KotkinNovember 29 2010

Appearing in: 
Forbes.com

The current conflict between the Koreas illustrates a broader global trend toward chaos along borders separating rich and poor countries. Ultimately, this reflects the resentments of a poor neighbor against a richer one. Feeling it has little to lose, the poorer neighbor engages recklessly in the hope of gaining some sort of tribute or recognition   from the better-heeled neighbor, or at least boosting its own self-respect.

The Rise of the Efficient City

By Joel KotkinNovember 26 2010

Appearing in: 
Wall Street Journal

Smaller, more nimble urban regions promise a better life than the congested megalopolis.

Most of the world's population now lives in cities. To many academics, planners and developers, that means that the future will be dominated by what urban theorist Saskia Sassen calls "new geographies of centrality." According to this view, dense, urban centers with populations in excess of 20 million—such as metropolitan Tokyo, New Delhi, Sao Paolo and New York—are best suited to control the commanding heights of global economics and culture in the coming epoch.

The Toto Strategy: How Kansas Can Save Barack Obama’s Presidency

By Joel KotkinNovember 23 2010

Appearing in: 
Forbes.com

Here’s an idea that could save Barack Obama’s presidency: Give up those troubling Chicago roots and get back to Kansas. If, as Dorothy observed in the Wizard of Oz, “We’re not in Kansas anymore,” get the Wizard to send you back there soon.

Barack Obama owes much to Kansas–and the Great Plains in general–something he used to acknowledge often enough. Not only was he largely raised by products of that region (his mother and grandmother hail  from  the Sunflower State), but also his remarkable victory over Hillary Clinton during the presidential primaries was built largely by winning first in the Iowa caucuses, followed by surprising victories in Kansas, North Dakota, Minnesota and Illinois.

California Suggests Suicide; Texas Asks: Can I Lend You a Knife?

By Joel KotkinNovember 15 2010

Appearing in: 
Forbes.com

In the future, historians may likely mark the 2010 midterm elections as the end of the California era and the beginning of the Texas one. In one stunning stroke, amid a national conservative tide, California voters essentially ratified a political and regulatory regime that has left much of the state unemployed and many others looking for the exits.

Welcome to Recoveryland: The Top 10 Places in America Poised for Recovery

By Joel KotkinNovember 08 2010

Appearing in: 
Newsweek

Like a massive tornado, the Great Recession up-ended the topography of America. But even as vast parts of the country were laid low, some cities withstood the storm and could emerge even stronger and shinier than before. So, where exactly are these Oz-like destinations along the road to recovery? If you said Kansas, you’re not far off. Try Oklahoma. Or Texas. Or Iowa. Not only did the economic twister of the last two years largely spare Tornado Alley, it actually may have helped improve the landscape.

The New World Order

By Joel KotkinNovember 04 2010

Appearing in: 
Newsweek

Tribal ties—race, ethnicity, and religion—are becoming more important than borders.

For centuries we have used maps to delineate borders that have been defined by politics. But it may be time to chuck many of our notions about how humanity organizes itself. Across the world a resurgence of tribal ties is creating more complex global alliances. Where once diplomacy defined borders, now history, race, ethnicity, religion, and culture are dividing humanity into dynamic new groupings.

The Smackdown Of The Creative Class

By Joel KotkinNovember 03 2010

Appearing in: 
Forbes.com

Two years ago I hailed Barack Obama’s election as “the triumph of the creative class.” Yesterday everything reversed, as middle-class Americans smacked down their putative new ruling class of highly educated urbanistas and college town denizens.

Toward a Continental Growth Strategy

By Joel KotkinOctober 29 2010

Appearing in: 
The American

North America remains easily the most favored continent both by demography and resources. The political party that harnesses this reality will own the political future.

America cannot afford a prolonged period of slow economic growth. But neither Democrats nor Republicans are prepared to offer a robust growth agenda. Regardless of what happens in the November midterm elections, the party that can outline an economic expansion strategy suitable to this enormous continental nation will own the political future.

Joel on Reason.tv

Watch the full sized video at Reason.com.


Watch Joel in this feature on the role of central planning in Los Angeles. View large version.

Interview on Smartplanet.com

"Greenurbia is the suburbs of the future. The suburbs of the 1950s were bedroom communities for people who commuted into the city. Today, there’s much more employment in the suburbs, and the big change is the number of people working full-time or part-time at home. Having people commute from one computer screen to another doesn’t make sense."

Read the full interview...

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Praise for The Next Hundred Million

Kotkin has a striking ability to envision how global forces will shape daily family life, and his conclusions can be thought-provoking as well as counterintuitive. It's amazing there isn't more public discussion about the enormous changes ahead, and reassuring to have this talented thinker on the case. — Jennifer Ludden, NPR national desk correspondent

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