My favorite podcast, Slate’s Political Gabfest, features a closing segment: “Cocktail Chatter”. During Cocktail Chatter, each host offers a recommendation or summary of some media or topic which they feel is worth sharing with the group and audience.

The Sunday Short is my version of Cocktail Chatter. Sadly, there are not enough hours in the day or days in the week for independent analysis of every topic which interests me. So, each week in the Sunday Short I will review and summarize articles or other reporting which caught my attention and I think is worth recounting.

1. A Chance to Fly

India has a unique opportunity amongst BRICS to succeeed economically. In addition to strong GDP growth (7.5%) and falling inflation, falling gas prices are a boon for a country which imports 80% of its gas. The Economist article argues India most needs to reform labor laws and foster growth in both industry and services. India cannot follow in China’s footsteps moving workers from agriculture to manufacturing because manufacturing growth potential has been minimized by technology. Outdated labor laws discourage company growth and encourage hiring temporary workers.

Arun Jaitley, the finance minister, has an opportunity to make needed reforms in power, labor and land through his budget proposal. Labor reform should give basic protection to workers but also reduce the cost to firms for lay-offs. Competition in power must be encouraged by relieving electricity price caps and providing licenses to reduce Coal India’s monopoly. Investment in land can be encouraged by striking down the legislation for landholder approval on investment projects.

2. The Breaking Point

Britain’s political system faces the destablizing forces of a multi-party system where representatives in Parliament are not representative of real popular support. 1951, the country’s “most two-party” election year, saw the two major parties compose 97% of the vote. Today, that proportion is closer to two-thirds. The UKIP and Greene parties will realize too few seats for their share of the vote, where the Scottish National Party will realize too many. The shifting party politics are driven by distain for coalition between the two major parties, a loss of identification with the major parties, and a growing expectation of choice. The British peoples expect more from their government and are less placeable into a comprimise vote.

3. The Miracle of Minneapolis

Two studies, one determining the cities with the greatest inter-generational mobility and one determining the least affordable cities for housing when compared with median incomes, returned a matching subset: San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, San Diego, and New York City. Minneapolis sits at the opposite end of this spectrum: it is in the top 10 of the mobility study but also boasts low income residents living and commuting for less than any other but one metropolitan area (Washington D.C.). Further, among residents under 35 it is in the top 10 for median income earnings and college graduation rates.

Minneapolis is a target destination for regional talent and potential real estate is unbounded by major oceans. Myles Shaver, a professor at the Carlson Shool of Management interviewed for the article, theorizes Minneapolis is successful at building and keeping large companies because of a crop of educated managers who can work at nearly any company and never leave the area. Minneapolis bears the adage: “It’s really hard to get people to move to Minneapolis, and it’s impossible to get them to leave.”

How has Minneapolis become such a haven of metropolitan equality? “Fiscal equalization”, established to thwart the race to the bottom naturally occurring across districts trying to undercut each other with tax breaks for businesses, requires nearly half of the growth be pooled regionally and distributed evenly across the region. The rule was established in 1971 and survives today.

“…for generations now, the Twin Cities’ downtown area, inner-ring neighborhoods, and tony suburbs have shared in the metro’s commercial success. By spreading the wealth to its poorest neighborhoods, the metro area provides more-equal services in low-income places, and keeps quality of life high just about everywhere.”

That’s all for this week. Thanks for stopping by!