“When an industry has thus chosen a locality for itself, it is likely to stay there long: so great are the advantages which people following the same skilled trade get from near neighbourhood to one another. The mysteries of the trade become no mysteries; but are as it were in the air, and children learn many of them unconsciously. Good work is rightly appreciated, inventions and improvements in machinery, in processes and the general organization of the business have their merits promptly discussed: if one man starts a new idea, it is taken up by others and combined with suggestions of their own; and thus it becomes the source of further new ideas. And presently subsidiary trades grow up in the neighbourhood, supplying it with implements and materials, organizing its traffic, and in many ways conducing to the economy of its material.”

Alfred Marshall

Principles of Economics, 1890

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Not so much down looks like up.

Ulster County lost 100 jobs in August, according to preliminary state labor data released late last week. Because the county lost 500 jobs in August last year, however, this August’s total of 59,700 allowed a year-to-year gain of 800 jobs over last August’s 58,900. These numbers of non-farm jobs still lag behind the 60,200 jobs county employment statistics recorded in August 2009 and the 61,700 recorded a decade ago in August 2004.

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caduceus pairs

Is a shuffling of the responsibilities of the players the way to turn America’s struggling healthcare world around? New York State is betting many billions of dollars that it is. The state is open to proposals. It’s asking some of the layers to come up with plausible scenarios for their parts in a rapidly changing universe, and it’s providing the ones whose proposals they like with financial encouragement.

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It’s ironic that late last Wednesday afternoon one of Kingston’s newest techie residents was wearing on his tee shirt the image of an obsolete New York City subway token, now replaced in city turnstiles by a Metro card. Aaron Quint was until very recently chief technical officer in a rapidly growing Manhattan Internet greeting-card company whose stated goal is “to become the new protocol for valued social communication, regardless of the medium you choose.” On August 19 the 31-year-old Quint announced, via tweet, of course, that he was stepping down to become Paperless Post’s chief scientist, now resident in Kingston, instead.

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tourism without tears

“Cultural tourism is concerned with a country or region’s culture, specifically the lifestyle of the people in those geographical areas, the history of those people, their art, architecture, religion(s), and other elements that helped shape their way of life.” – Adapted from Wikipedia

Because the impacts of tourism are intertwined with so many different aspects of a society, economists find it notoriously difficult to deal with, particularly for the purpose of differentiating good tourism from bad. The studies economists generate should be looked on with great skepticism, especially if they are paid for by those with a vested interest in the outcomes. Since tourism is the fastest-growing major industrial sector in the world economy, however, there’s no excuse for ignoring it.

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"IBM parking lot 2013" Illustration by Frances Halsband

“IBM parking lot 2013″ Illustration by Frances Halsband

‘It’s a mesmerizing occupation, this assembling and reassembling of ghosts. I never tire of it. You can preserve a parking lot in its magical/sinister era (when it required a “gold coin” to get out!) from its future incarnation when grass from the old farmland days will once again burst through its cracked and empty acreage. You can bring back the dead, hear their voices, reassess their place in your overall design, and even find new jobs for them.’

— Gail Godwin, “Ulster County Ghosts,”
from Kingston: The IBM Years, 2014.

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It’s not easy being independent.

It’s been three years since I said goodbye to a steady paycheck and joined the nervous but optimistic ranks of the self-employed.

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