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Assorted Links Thursday

America's cheat code.

Dane Carlson
Dane Carlson
2 min read
Assorted Links Thursday
Photo by Bartek Mazurek / Unsplash

How a tech mogul turned a retirement account for the middle class into a $5 billion tax-free piggy bank:

Over the last 20 years, Peter Thiel has quietly turned his Roth IRA — a humdrum retirement vehicle intended to spur Americans to save for their golden years — into a gargantuan tax-exempt piggy bank, confidential Internal Revenue Service data shows. Using stock deals unavailable to most people, Thiel has taken a retirement account worth less than $2,000 in 1999 and spun it into a $5 billion windfall.

How the YouTube creator economy works:

Desperate lawmakers discuss piping ocean water to fill Great Salt Lake: A Utah legislative commission voted to study the possibility of building a pipeline from the Pacific Ocean to the drying lake.

The housing shortage isn’t just a coastal crisis anymore:

Mckinsey & Company: Are you searching the right talent pools?

The rise and fall of the manufactured home:

A recurring theme of this newsletter is the failure of prefabrication (building homes in factories instead of on-site) to revolutionize the housing industry. While it’s possible to build a successful construction business with prefabrication, it hasn’t swept away the old methods of building - building a home on-site remains the most common (and in most cases, the cheapest) way of building a house in the US. (Outside the US, prefabrication is often more popular, but it’s still not a low-cost method of building.) No one has yet managed to do for housing what Ford did for cars, or what Corning did for lightbulbs, or what Arkwright, Hargreaves, and Crompton did for cotton thread.
However, one form of prefabrication is able to reliably produce housing substantially cheaper than site-built methods - the manufactured home (formerly the mobile home, also called trailer homes or HUD homes.)

Reading: Arbitrary Lines: How Zoning Broke the American City and How to Fix It, by M. Nolan Gray.  Here's an excerpt.

This looks like something we should all keep an eye on:

Do we need a better understanding of 'progress'?  A growing and influential intellectual movement aims to understand why human progress happensand how to speed it up.

The Mississippi river, it's tributaries, and the Intracoastal Waterway: America's cheat code.


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Founder/Host of Econ Dev Show. By day: Director of Economic Development for Galveston County, Texas.