A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘globalization

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

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  • Language Hat reports on the Wenzhounese of Italy.
  • Language Log writes about the tones of Cantonese.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money writes about the costs of law school. (They are significant, and escalating hugely.)
  • Marginal Revolution reports on the problems facing the Brazilian pension system, perhaps overgenerous for a relatively poor country facing rapid aging.
  • Neuroskeptic reports on the latest re: the crisis of scientists not being able to replicate evidence, now even their own work being problematic.
  • Personal Reflections considers the questions of how to preserve the dignity of people facing Alzheimer’s.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes a Financial Times article looking at the impact of aging on global real estate.
  • Spacing Toronto talks about the campaign to name a school after Jean Earle Geeson, a teacher and activist who helped save Fort York.
  • At Wave Without A Shore, C.J. Cherryh shares photos of her goldfish.
  • Window on Eurasia notes growing instability in Daghestan, looks at the latest in Georgian historical memory, and shares an article arguing that Putin’s actions have worsened Russia’s reputation catastrophically.

[URBAN NOTE] “Ontario’s lack of foreign-buyer data sparks concern about a Toronto housing crisis”

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The Globe and Mail‘s Mike Hager notes how the lack of official statistics on foreign buyers of real estate in Toronto means, among other things, that less reliable data metrics like search engine hits need to be used. This just proves how modern societies need good data to address real problems.

‘Up! Up! Up!”

That’s where Toronto’s real estate market is heading, according to a Chinese-language promotional article posted last month on Fang.com, a Beijing-based web portal that lists thousands of homes for sale in countries around the world.

“You will really cry if you still don’t buy,” the same posting blares.

Toronto has become the “dark horse” of the Canadian real estate market, asserts Haifangbest.com, another site jammed with Canadian home listings. It contrasts Vancouver’s continuing drop in prices with a prediction that Toronto-area homes will rise 8 per cent in value this year.

In the months since British Columbia began taxing international buyers 15-per-cent extra on homes in and around Vancouver, those marketing Canadian real estate overseas have shifted their focus to Toronto. Last year, Toronto overtook Vancouver to become the most sought-after Canadian city for Chinese home buyers searching the property listing service Juwai.com, peaking in August just after British Columbia announced the tax aimed at curbing the public outrage over skyrocketing prices. Searches for properties in Toronto proper now surpass the total inquiries for Vancouver, Montreal, Calgary and Ottawa combined.

Richard Silver, a Sotheby’s realtor and past president of the Toronto Real Estate Board, estimates close to 20 per cent of his clients are international buyers – from China, India and the Middle East – interested in the luxury condos and houses he sells in and around the downtown core.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 21, 2017 at 9:30 pm

[BLOG] Some Saturday links

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  • blogTO notes the amazing spike upwards in temperatures for this weekend.
  • Dangerous Minds shares photos of some stark war memorials of the former Communist world.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze reports on brown dwarf HIP 67537b.
  • The LRB Blog looks at Donald Trump’s interest in a Middle Eastern peace settlement that looks as if it will badly disadvantage the isolated Palestinians.
  • Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen reflects on his reading of Julius Evola and other hitherto-marginal writers.
  • The NYRB Daily notes the potential health catastrophe that could result from Donald Trump’s anti-vax positions.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer suggests that the corruption marking the relationship of France and Gabon over that country’s oil is finding an echo in the Trump organization’s involvement in Filipino real estate.
  • Torontoist calls for regulation of road salt on grounds of its toxicity.
  • Transit Toronto looks at the various scenarios for King Street.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russia’s economic growth will lag behind growth elsewhere for the foreseeable future, and looks at protest in St. Petersburg over the return of an old church to the Orthodox Church.

[BLOG] Some Friday links

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  • blogTO looks at deserted Mirvish Village.
  • Crooked Timber reenages with the Rachel Carson and DDT myth.
  • The Crux looks at the Mandela Effect, exploring false memories.
  • Dangerous Minds makes the case for the musical genius of Bobbie Gentry.
  • From the Heart of Europe’s Nicholas Whyte recounts his visit to Albania’s bunker museum.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes Brazil’s retirement of its only aircraft carrier.
  • The LRB Blog looks at the extent and speed of events in the Trump Administration.
  • Marginal Revolution engages with a book examining France’s carving out a “cultural exception” in international trade agreements.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw reports on the passing of rulership of the Australian micronation of Hutt River.
  • Peter Rukavina shares good advice for visiting museums: visit only what you can take in.
  • Window on Eurasia looks at Russian Orthodox Church opposition to a certain kind of Russian civic nationality, and argues Russia is losing even its regional superpower status.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell reports on how local councils in the United Kingdom are speculating on commercial property.

[URBAN NOTE] “New agency aims to attract foreign investment to Greater Toronto Area”

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The Globe and Mail‘s Josh O’Kane describes how, in an era of incipient protectionism in the United States, the city of Toronto has set up a new agency to attract investment.

Toronto and its surrounding municipalities are doubling down on efforts to entice foreign investment, with a new agency designed to pull new business and money into the region.

The cities and regions of Greater Toronto will join the federal and Ontario governments in spending $19.5-million over three years to launch the agency, which is to be called Toronto Global. It will be chaired by former Canadian Football League commissioner Mark Cohon, with former airport executive Toby Lennox as chief executive officer.

The initiative seizes a moment where global trade and investment patterns are shrouded in uncertainty because of the protectionist agenda of Donald Trump. The new U.S. President has said his administration will renegotiate the North American free-trade agreement and has used the threat of border taxes to discourage manufacturers that sell into the U.S. market from making products outside the United States.

Despite those threats, the new Toronto agency aims to lure investors into Canada’s biggest metropolitan area to boost economic growth and attract jobs across multiple sectors such as advanced manufacturing, technology, life sciences and financial services.

Toronto’s census metropolitan area accounted for 18.6 per cent of Canada’s GDP at basic prices in 2013, the latest year for which Statistics Canada has such data. Mr. Cohon described Toronto Global as a “concierge service” to both advise interested companies and attract new partners to set up business in the region.

Written by Randy McDonald

February 3, 2017 at 9:30 pm

[LINK] “Tech Had to Lash Out Against Trump’s Ban. It’s Personal”

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Wired‘s Davey Alba argues that the high concentration of immigrants, even refugees, in Silicon Valley made a hostile reaction to the Trump presidency very likely even before the announced border control policies.

Any thought that Silicon Valley might work with President Trump ended when the tech industry took a decisive stand against his Muslim ban. It simply had no other choice.

The condemnation has been swift and nearly unanimous. Today, Google employees worldwide walked off the job to protest the ban; CEO Sundar Pichai and co-founder Sergey Brin came out to support them. Over the weekend, big tech companies, venture capitalists, and even CEOs like Elon Musk and Travis Kalanick who are advising Trump denounced the draconian policy. It was a rare moment of unanimity for Silicon Valley, which is almost by definition a globalized industry built by, and welcoming toward, immigrants. Opposition to Trump’s immigration crackdown isn’t just political. It’s personal.

“No nation is better at harnessing the energies and talents of immigrants,” Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos wrote today in a note to employees detailing the company’s opposition to the ban. “It’s a distinctive competitive advantage for our country—one we should not weaken.”

Many see the ban as an existential threat. Of the 274,000 skilled-worker visas, known as H-1B visas, the US issued in 2013, 65 percent went to people in computer-related jobs. More than that, though, the ban goes to the heart of the Valley’s culture, which emphasizes inclusion and globalism. It’s the stuff of legend. Steve Jobs was the son of Syrian immigrants, and Brin’s parents fled the Soviet Union when he was a child. As he told a reporter during a protest at San Francisco International Airport, “I’m a refugee.”

Sabba Nazhand, enterprise sales director at the web-based event planning platform Social Tables, says many people feel the ban personally. Even people who aren’t immigrants work alongside them and consider them friends. “It hit home,” says Nazhand, who was born in Iran. Whatever the external political considerations of tech companies might be, tech employees have had to come to terms with the reality of the immigration ban in ways that radiate outward, even at big companies.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 31, 2017 at 5:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “Vancouver third most expensive in world for housing, Toronto 13th: study”

The Toronto Star carried the Canadian Press report about Demographia‘s latest international survey on the affordability of housing.

An annual international survey rates Vancouver as the third least affordable housing market on the planet and it also has a warning about Toronto housing.

The 2017 Demographia International Housing Affordability Survey gives Vancouver a rating of 11.8, meaning median home prices are 11.8 times higher than median household income.

Read more: Toronto house prices climb more than 22%

Only Hong Kong, with a rating of 18.1, and Sydney, Australia, at 12.2, outstrip Vancouver.

Demographia says housing markets are affordable when median prices are no more than three times higher than median household income.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 25, 2017 at 9:30 pm