Politics open thread, May 5-11

Let’s talk politics.

From WCE:

For the politics page, on what companies and workers should do about the questionable use of technology by various governments.

“We can forgive your politics and focus on your technical contributions as long as you don’t do something unforgivable, like speaking to the press.”

This was the parting advice given to me during my exit interview from Google after spending a month internally arguing, resignation letter in hand, for the company to clarify its ethical red lines around Project Dragonfly, the effort to modify Search to meet the censorship and surveillance demands of the Chinese Communist Party.

When a prototype circulated internally of a system that would ostensibly allow the Chinese government to surveil Chinese users’ queries by their phone numbers, Google executives argued that it was within existing norms. Governments, after all, make law enforcement demands of the company all the time. Where, they asked their employees, was the demonstrable harm?

Politics open thread, April 21-27

Any political comments?

Two Universes, One Report
The release of Robert Mueller’s findings was a choose-your-own-adventure moment for political punditry.

From the moment the 448-page document was published, two separate news universes took shape. In one, the special counsel’s report was presented as a smoking-gun chronicle of high crimes and misdemeanors. In the other, it was heralded as a credibility-shredding blow to the president’s opponents.

Politics open thread, April 14-20

Welcome to our weekly politics discussion.

From WCE:

I was reading about Buttigieg and thinking about how the Democrats would likely win the election with a Rust Belt candidate. That led me to this article about the challenges of declining moderate-sized cities.

My favorite quote about per capita GDP explains why the education systems and social support of wealthy cities like Seattle and Boston are not economically feasible in cities like Michigan City and Saginaw.

I’ll remind the regulars of previous discussions about the importance of winning the geographic lottery at birth, which means living in a place where being well-educated lets you get a good job. If being well-educated doesn’t get you a better job, you just have a pile of student loan debt unless you move to where the jobs are.

Gross Domestic Product. In addition to weak growth, or even decline, in population and jobs, left-behind metro areas also have lower-value economies than average. Only two of the 48—Trenton, New Jersey, and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania—had a real per-capita GDP greater than the 2017 U.S. average, $52,273; and 31 had a real per-capita GDP below $40,000 per year. By contrast, Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue (Washington) had a real per-capita GDP of $80,833, and Boston-Cambridge-Newton (Massachusetts/New Hampshire) had a real per-capita GDP of $78,465.

How Stagnating Cities Can Prepare for the Future

Politics open thread, March 3-9

A new political discussion starts today.

From WCE:

I often think that no political label fits me- pragmatist doesn’t seem to be one of the choices. I enjoyed this article on Amazon’s withdrawal from New York City. It discusses the need for progressives to embrace economic development. My favorite quote is, “Progressives need to talk about jobs and economic development; we can’t just operate on the assumption that this is a rich nation with ample resources that simply need redistribution.”

Since the West Coast has high housing prices in part due to the long-term consequences of the anti-growth initiatives of the 1970’s, the argument applies here too.

Progressives Risk Killing More Than the Amazon Deal