A morning roundup of the day’s news.
Services on demand: We know how “surge pricing” through Uber, planes, hotels, and concert tickets—at high-demand times, you pay more to ensure your spot. But as this trend leaks into more public uses, like electricity and traffic, what are the potential consequences? The New York Times looks to a Nobel Prize winner, and to Bruce Springsteen:
“A good rule of thumb is we shouldn’t impose a set of rules that will create moral outrage, even if that moral outrage seems stupid to economists,” [University of Chicago economist Richard] Thaler said.
… Utilities and regulators, in other words, have to think a little like Mr. Springsteen: It’s not just about maximizing the efficiency of the energy market on any one day, just as the Boss isn’t trying to maximize his revenue from any one concert. Rather, it’s about maintaining a relationship in which people do not feel like they have been exploited.
On the opioid front: As the president’s pick for drug czar withdraws after damaging reports that he hindered drug enforcement of opioids, Trump is apparently moving closer to declaring the opioid crisis a national emergency—a statement he’s made verbally but not yet through formal declaration. (NPR, CNN)
- In other opioid news: A new study finds that pot legalization in Colorado led to a decrease of opioid overdose deaths over two years—in the first such analysis that looks at the impact of recreational marijuana laws. (Washington Post)
Taxing troubles: A bipartisan group of mayors is objecting to the feds’ proposal to nix a state and local tax deduction, releasing a study that shows 30 percent of citizens would pay higher taxes under the plan. Some local leaders also say the change would make it harder for states and cities to raise their own taxes. (Los Angeles Times, Route Fifty)
Boring luxury: An architecture critic dissects the drabness of that flat, boxy look dominating the design of upscale condos and apartments across our big cities. (WBUR)
The urban lens:
"New York is a walking city. People walk everywhere: to work, to school, to shop, to worship. And usually we’re in such a hurry, with the whole city rushing headlong around us, that we can miss what we’re walking past. It’s the past itself — fragments and layers of New York’s history unceremoniously preserved in its streetscapes, in stories told on park benches and bar stools, in ghosts glimpsed in shadowed doorways. Hell’s Kitchen is one such neighborhood." - @nytimes , August 17, 2007
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