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What the History of Ukraine Teaches us About the Risks of Mismanaging Climate Crisis

Ukraine has a long history of finding itself at the intersection of political violence — among them genocide inflicted by Joseph Stalin, joined later by German occupiers. This tragic history helps explain why Ukrainians have the will to sacrifice everything for their land, despite the odds, to fend off Vladimir Putin’s invasion.

Sandwiched between German imperialism/Fascism and the Marxist/Leninist movements of the 19th and 20th Centuries, modern Ukraine continues to exist between a proverbial rock and a hard place. Consequently, it is unsurprising that the seeds of conflict still lie in this region to the present day.

If these historical undercurrents are acknowledged at all, it is to point out that President Putin engages in propaganda when he rationalizes his warpath to the Russian people as a purging of Nazis from Ukraine. Nevertheless, there is a kernel of truth to this history. An Israeli paper covered an “Embroidery March” last year in Kiev — one of several to commemorate Nazi collaborators — which some Ukrainians remember as allies against the Soviet Empire during World War II.

While it is tempting to compartmentalize the COVID-19 pandemic, the costly aftermath of George Floyd’s death in 2020, a 40-year high in inflation and the war in Ukraine as a series of random events, an uneasy sense that something more is afoot is widespread. Pundits, for example, have attempted to attribute these early 21st Century upheavals to Marxists. Still others have drawn attention to the World Economic Forum’s so-called Great Reset, to argue that “Stakeholder Capitalism” is the new face of fascism.

Whatever this is, we can no longer afford to remain passive observers.

Continue reading “What the History of Ukraine Teaches us About the Risks of Mismanaging Climate Crisis”

Early Signs of a Rental Market Bubble: “Grab That Apartment Before the Rent Spikes”

Dynamic pricing, long the norm for airline tickets — the same computer-generated practice responsible for hour-to-hour price shifts for hotel rooms and goods sold on Amazon.com — has come to bear on the nation’s housing markets. Day-to-day increases and decreases, worth hundreds of dollars, are not out of the ordinary in many rental markets. Society must decide: Are such trends genuinely reflective of market demands or are high-speed revenue management programs also driving market trends in much the same way high-frequencey trading has been criticized for spawning stock market volatility?

Key Questions:

1) Does the emergence of dynamic pricing in the real estate sector allude to a sophisticated means of price fixing and collusion?

2) Should we amend laws pertaining to “unfair advantage” to account for novel forms of technology — to compensate for the reality that ordinary consumers are no match for a multimillion-dollar computer algorithms?

3) We might be able to walk away from an over-priced hotel room or airline ticket — to vote with our pocketbooks. But we don’t have the luxury of skipping out on necessities like food and housing. Should dynamic pricing strategies be employed in all markets — even those for which bubbles and busts may have a particularly invasive, deleterious reach?

How has dynamic pricing impacted housing costs in your neck of the woods? Join the discussion in the comment section!

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