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Across the country, schools are preparing to reopen in September with rigorous hygiene protocols to protect against Covid-19. Now, in the aftermath of nationwide protests in response to George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, activists are making a renewed push to incorporate “antiracism” content into classrooms. According to Eden, “antiracist schools will teach very different material from the schools of yesteryear.”More
Christopher Rufo joins Brian Anderson to discuss Seattle’s activist-controlled “autonomous zone” in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of the city, established after police evacuated the local precinct building.
In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, activists and police in Seattle clashed until the city decided to abandon the East Precinct and surrender the neighborhood to protesters, who declared it the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ). More than a week later, the future of CHAZ—now increasingly called CHOP, for Capitol Hill Organized Protest—remains unclear.More
Kay Hymowitz joins Brian Anderson to discuss how our social instincts, and especially our social networks, affect our behavior and choices, in areas as wide-ranging as divorce, obesity—and even rioting.
Humans are social animals, as the saying goes. Our social nature, Hymowitz writes in her new story, “The Human Network,” makes nearly everything contagious, from viruses to behaviors. For example, new research suggests that people can, in effect, “catch” divorce from their friends or extended family. But while network science can be a useful tool for understanding human action, it cannot explain why some are more susceptible to social pressure than others.More
Coleman Hughes joins Brian Anderson to discuss the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery, the widespread claims that his alleged murderers were motivated by racism, and public reaction to the killing—the subjects of Hughes’s article, “The Illusion of Certainty.”
Ahmaud Arbery’s violent death at the hands of Gregory and Travis McMichael has sparked nationwide outrage and reignited the debate over racial profiling. But “while it’s tempting to assume that the McMichaels were motivated by racism,” writes Hughes, “the only intellectually honest position is to admit that we do not know what motivated them—at least, not yet.”More
Michael Gibson joins Brian Anderson to discuss San Francisco’s ongoing struggle with public order and his decision to leave the Bay Area for Los Angeles—the subject of Gibson’s story, “America’s Havana,” in the Spring 2020 issue.
“Even before the current Covid-19 pandemic,” writes Gibson, “San Francisco was a deeply troubled city.” The city ranks first in the nation in a host of property crimes, and its high housing costs make it prohibitively expensive for low- and middle-income families. Even tech companies are now considering relocating their operations; any significant exodus of such businesses would be a serious blow to the city’s economy.More
James R. Copland joins Brian Anderson to discuss how America’s uniquely cumbersome regulatory system impeded the national response to the Covid-19 crisis and how costly litigation could damage the economy even further.
The FDA and CDC’s administrative failings in the early days of the crisis proved costly. The federal process for reviewing and approving drugs and medical devices, writes Copland, still leaves much to be desired. And a wave of coronavirus-related lawsuits poses a serious threat to future business viability.More
Arpit Gupta joins Brian Anderson to discuss how New York City can safely restart its economy and allow people to resume normal activities—the subject of his new Manhattan Institute issue brief (coauthored with Dr. Jonathan Ellen), “A Strategy for Reopening New York City’s Economy.”
As the U.S. city most affected by the coronavirus, New York faces unique challenges in its road to recovery. The key question remains: how can the city’s economy reopen safely? The issue brief provides a strategic blueprint for doing that, with two key components: effective measures to reduce the risks of new infection and a phased approach that protects vulnerable populations.More
Edward L. Glaeser joins Brian Anderson to discuss the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on city life in America, the connection between urban density and contagious disease, how to prepare for the threat of future outbreaks, and the economic-policy response of leaders in Washington.
As New York enters its second month under effective lockdown, Glaeser reminds us that “density and connection to the outside world—the defining characteristics of great cities—can also turn deadly.” Contagious disease has always been the enemy of urban life; overcoming it in the past has required massive investments in sanitary infrastructure. The current pandemic could prove a long-run disaster for urban residents and workers unless public fear is alleviated.More
Virologist and investor Peter Kolchinsky joins Brian Anderson to discuss a coronavirus vaccine, the critical genetic differences between Covid-19 and the flu, and his proposals to reform the pharmaceutical industry.
As millions of Americans approach a month of living under stay-at-home orders, scientific teams across the globe are racing to find a vaccine for the coronavirus. According to Kolchinsky, several vaccines are already in development, and concerns that the virus will mutate and evade them are overblown. But until a treatment is made widely available, he warns, we will have to maintain a level of social distancing to prevent the health-care system from being overwhelmed. Kolchinsky is the author of The Great American Drug Deal: A New Prescription for Innovative and Affordable Medicines.More
Steven Malanga and Brian Anderson discuss how the economic shock resulting from the coronavirus—the closing of large sections of the American economy, the plunge of stock markets—is likely to undermine state and local budgets around the country.
Even as states are searching for extra funds to help battle Covid-19, the loss of tax revenue during the crisis will be devastating. “States that rely on meetings, conventions, and tourism, or that derive substantial economic growth from energy production, or that depend on big gains in the financial markets from wealthy individuals, will be among the biggest losers unless the economy turns around fast,” Malanga writes.More
Confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, have been identified in more than half of U.S. states. Globally, the number of coronavirus cases exceeds 100,000. “The New York experience to date suggests,” writes Zinberg, “that the disruptions this new virus causes—particularly to the availability of medical care, for any condition—may be more dangerous than the illness that it causes.”More
John Tierney joins Brian Anderson to discuss the campaign to ban the use of plastic products and the flawed logic behind the recycling movement—the subjects of Tierney’s story, “The Perverse Panic over Plastic,” from the Winter 2020 Issue of City Journal.
Hundreds of cities and eight states have outlawed or regulated single-use plastic bags. But according to Tierney, the plastic panic doesn’t make sense. Plastic bags are the best environmental choice at the supermarket, not the worst, and cities that built expensive recycling programs—in the hopes of turning a profit on recycled products—have instead paid extra to get rid of their plastic waste, mostly by shipping it to Asian countries with low labor costs. However, the bans will likely continue as political leaders and private companies seek a renewed sense of moral superiority.More
Christopher Rufo joins Brian Anderson to discuss drug addiction and homelessness in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Skid Row, the subject of Rufo’s story from the Winter 2020 Issue of City Journal, “The Moral Crisis of Skid Row.”
“They call Los Angeles the City of Angels,” writes Rufo, “but it seems that even here, within the five-by-ten-block area of Skid Row, the city contains an entire cosmology—angels and demons, sinners and saints, plagues and treatments.” To address the growing public-health crisis, progressive activists and political leaders have relied on two major policies: “harm reduction” and “housing first.” But despite nearly $1 billion in new spending, more people are on the streets than ever—and the crime and addiction are getting worse.More
“Tech companies confront an inconvenient fact,” writes Mills. “The global cloud uses more energy than is produced by all the planet’s wind and solar farms combined.” In fact, digital traffic has become the fastest-growing source of energy use. While nearly every tech company has pledged to transition to renewable energy sources, most data centers are physically connected to the conventional power grid, fueled by hydrocarbons. The modern economy won’t be exclusively powered by renewables any time soon.More
“Risk, for better and worse,” writes Schrager for City Journal, “is at the heart of economic growth, and successfully apportioning it—not avoiding it—is the key to prosperity.” While government has a role to play in managing risk, the U.S. economy has thrived by trusting markets to allocate it efficiently. Overly intrusive efforts to reduce risk in the economy—such as California’s new law regulating freelance or “gig” work—may prove counterproductive to workers of all incomes.More
For nearly 20 years, “food deserts”—neighborhoods without supermarkets—have captured the attention of public officials, activists, and the media, who often blame the situation on dollar-discount stores in these areas. These stores, it’s claimed, drive out supermarkets with their low prices and saturate poor neighborhoods with junk food. But are dollar stores really to blame for bad diets?More
Manhattan Institute’s Michael Hendrix interviews Mayer Brown partner Andrew Pincus, the lead attorney in a lawsuit taking on New York State’s sweeping rent-regulation laws.
In 2019, New York strengthened its already-strict rent regulations, while state legislatures in Oregon and California approved caps on rent increases. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Bernie Sanders have even proposed national rent-control policies. Pincus explains what’s wrong with rent control, from violating due process and property rights to shutting out newcomers attempting to find housing in cities.More
Naomi Schaefer Riley joins City Journal editor Brian Anderson to discuss the state of the American child-welfare services, and describes and what some nonprofits are doing to improve foster care across the country.
Nationally, Riley notes in City Journal, about 444,000 children are in foster-care. And in many states, “officials report a severe shortage of families to take in these children.” On top of that, disturbing incidents like the death of Zymere Perkins in New York highlight the failure of local child-welfare services to intervene in the face of clear evidence of abuse.More
Merry Christmas from the editors of City Journal. In another special episode of 10 Blocks, editor Brian Anderson extends his best wishes to all our listeners during the holiday season, reflects on a year of terrific guests, and more.More