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Zócalo Public Square | Ideas Journalism With a Head and a Heart

New at Zócalo

The Takeaway

The U.S. and Mexico Aren't yet One Country, but They're Becoming One Region

Despite Nasty Rhetoric and Political Conflict, These North American Neighbors Keep Drawing Closer Through Trade, Culture, and Shared Interests

By Reed Johnson

    If you want to know where U.S.-Mexico relations are heading, Andrew Selee suggests, don’t just listen to the vitriol flying around Washington these days.
    Instead, consider this week’s announcement that the 2026 soccer World Cup will be jointly hosted by the three nations that make up North America—Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Or take note of the three Mexican filmmakers who’ve won the Academy Award for Best Director in recent years. Or look at the increasing technology swaps going on between Silicon Valley and south-of-the-border cities like Guadalajara.
    Selee, a scholar of U.S.-Mexico relations, made the case that the United States and its neighbor are drawing ever closer together in a Zócalo Public ...


When the U.S. Government Asked American Families to Turn in Their Gold

American Default: The Untold Story of FDR, the Supreme Court, and the Battle Over Gold

By Sebastian Edwards

    At $20 trillion, the national debt of the United States is slightly bigger than the annual output of the American economy. Government shutdowns and brinksmanship about extending the country’s debt ceiling have greatly raised the risk of default. So what would happen if the U.S. actually went off the fiscal cliff, and was unable to pay its debts? To answer that question, we have one historical data point: the great debt default of 1933-1935, when Franklin D. Roosevelt, Congress, and the Supreme Court agreed to wipe out more than 40 percent of America’s public and private debts. What were the consequences of that default for America and the world? And what does this history tell us about the risks of an American default today? UCLA Anderson School of Management international economist Sebastian Edwards, author of ...

Connecting California Joe Mathews

  • My Plan for Building the Perfect California City

    Welcome to 'Joeville,' Where the First Rule Is Not to Play by the Rules

        Recently a startup founder in San Jose asked me a question: What would you do if you were starting a California city?
        My first answer: Get my head examined.
      &ensop; For 40 years, the state government and California voters ...

  • From Voting to Tech Innovation, California Ranks First at Second Best

    Whether in Sacramento, Silicon Valley, or El Segundo, Golden Staters Now Prefer to Follow the Leader

        The world over, people long to finish first. But in California, it’s better to be second best.
        This is the larger truth at the center of the Golden State’s June 5 first-round elections for ...

  • Even Kafka Couldn't Dream up California's Surreal Housing Crisis

    The Late Prague Novelist Visits the Golden State, Which Is Metamorphosing Into a Nightmare

        I keep hearing you Californians calling your state’s housing crisis Kafkaesque.
        You are far too kind: I never imagined a bureaucratic nightmare this cruel, absurd, and surreal. ...

  • Video Highlights

    Looking Back at Four Years of “What It Means to Be American”

    The Smithsonian/ASU/Zócalo Project on U.S. History and Identity Is Just Getting Started

    Since its launch on April 14, 2014, the "What It Means to Be American" project has convened 12 events in seven cities and published more than 300 essays on American history and identity. And we're just getting started. Here's a look back at where we've been, and where we're going.