By Bill Watkins – Previously Published in the Pacific Coast Business Times In popular culture, there are “good” industries and “evil” industries. Oil has held the most hated position of the evil list for generations and is likely to hold it until there is no more oil. Farming, once solidly on the good list, is… Read more

“It’s no longer legal to say, ‘We don’t want African-Americans to live here,’ but you can say, ‘I’m going to make sure no one who makes less than two times the median income lives here,’” Jargowsky told me. The above quote is from an Atlantic article on the resurrection of American slums.  I recommend the… Read more

I was at a meeting this morning with with people from across the economy.  We had a farmer, an accountant, a banker, two city economic development people, a university dean, and more.  While the meeting had another purpose, we ended it by going around the room and having people tell us how things were going… Read more

Bloomberg has a report on an IMF study.  Here is the key sentence: “The U.S. financial system remains fragile and banks subjected to additional economic stress might need as much as $76 billion in capital, according to the results of International Monetary Fund stress tests.” We at CERF have been long concerned about the strength… Read more

DJ is one of my dearest friends.  He was one of the first people to befriend me when I moved to a new city as a high-school junior.  He was there for the debriefs after high-school dates, and I was there for his.  He was there for an awful lot of firsts, none of which… Read more

The National Venture Capital Association issued a couple of reports recently.  One is on venture capital fund raising.  The other is a report on a survey of venture capital professionals.  Each of them make for ugly reading, if you would like to see a robust recovery and dynamic economy. Here are a few key findings:… Read more

The quality of political debate is really amazing. I’m being called a right-wing extremist because a study we did for the California Manufacturers and Technology Association does not fit the “environmentalist” view. It was just a few months ago that I was being called an ivory-tower liberal for discussing the economic benefits of immigrants and… Read more

The debate over the repeal of California’s global-warming regulation, AB32, has degenerated into a shouting match, each side claiming economic ruin if the other side wins. A couple of long-dead French economists can help us think about the debate. The great French economist Leon Walras (1834-1910) showed that perfect markets result in an allocation of… Read more

When thinking about regulation, it is helpful to have some regulatory principles. Here are my proposals: Keep it simple. Simple regulation is cost-effective regulation. Simple regulation minimizes both regulatory costs to the government and compliance costs to the regulated firms, costs eventually borne by consumers or taxpayers. Complicated regulation invites lawsuits and encourages efforts to… Read more

Almost everybody pontificating about financial regulation seems to be recommending increased capital ratios, increasing the ratio of firm’s capital to assets. It is also true that financial regulation around the world includes minimum capital ratios. The reasoning seems to be that if you increase a financial institution’s capital, it is less likely to fail, but… Read more