from the world's big
In Los Angeles, an Undergound Half-Billion Dollar Economy
Street vendors benefit the economy in all kinds of ways.
When it comes to underground businesses, the question of whether or not to regulate can be tricky.
According to a recent report from the Economic Roundtable, there are about 50,000 street vendors throughout the city of Los Angeles selling everything from food to clothing and cellphone cases. And since many of the vendors operate under the official radar (read: illegal), some say there is as much as $43 million a year in tax revenue that could be collected from them if they were to be regulated.
But the benefits of recognizing and regulating this unseen industry could be outweighed by hidden costs.
Unregulated, these tiny businesses are a major boon for the L.A. economy, even without tax revenue. Part of the positive influence is due to the ripple effect from all of these street vendor sales, since many of the businesses will acquire goods and spend their revenue locally. They may also attract sales for brick-and-mortar stores that they locate near.
While L.A. street vendor culture might be an entity unto itself, many other cities also have a strong host of similar vendors, particularly food vendors. Cities run the gamut from cultures that are friendly to these businesses, to those that place challenging rules and regulations on vendors.
Take Fort Collins, Colorado, for example, where food truck vendors recently voiced concerns about potential regulations that would impact how long they could park on private property. The vendors clearly felt that there are plenty of rules already governing how they operate, and they’re not too interested in seeing a new one.
In a completely opposite direction, the city of Pittsburgh has just lifted certain restrictions on food truck parking. Trucks can now use metered parking spaces for up to four hours, where before they could only legally stay in a metered spot for 30 minutes. The change comes with a few other new rules about selling hours and vendor license costs.
With the debate over regulation, it’s not quite a clear call on how L.A. street vendors would react to being more regulated. Perhaps the money they would need to pay in taxes wouldn’t come as a huge hit, but it’s also possible that new regulations could decrease overall income and have a negative impact on the flourishing subsector. Time will show how these sorts of businesses, and the regulations on them, change and grow.
Image Credit: JEWEL SAMAD / Staff via Getty Images
Stefani is a writer and urban planner based in Oakland, CA. She holds a master’s in City and Regional Planning from UC Berkeley and a bachelor’s in Human Biology from Stanford University. In her free time, she is often found reading diverse literature, writing stories, or enjoying the outdoors. Follow her on Twitter: @stefanicox
Construction of the $500 billion dollar tech city-state of the future is moving ahead.
- The futuristic megacity Neom is being built in Saudi Arabia.
- The city will be fully automated, leading in health, education and quality of life.
- It will feature an artificial moon, cloud seeding, robotic gladiators and flying taxis.
The Red Sea area where Neom will be built:
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Are we genetically inclined for superstition or just fearful of the truth?
- From secret societies to faked moon landings, one thing that humanity seems to have an endless supply of is conspiracy theories. In this compilation, physicist Michio Kaku, science communicator Bill Nye, psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh, skeptic Michael Shermer, and actor and playwright John Cameron Mitchell consider the nature of truth and why some groups believe the things they do.
- "I think there's a gene for superstition, a gene for hearsay, a gene for magic, a gene for magical thinking," argues Kaku. The theoretical physicist says that science goes against "natural thinking," and that the superstition gene persists because, one out of ten times, it actually worked and saved us.
- Other theories shared include the idea of cognitive dissonance, the dangerous power of fear to inhibit critical thinking, and Hollywood's romanticization of conspiracies. Because conspiracy theories are so diverse and multifaceted, combating them has not been an easy task for science.
A growing body of research suggests COVID-19 can cause serious neurological problems.
- The new study seeks to track the health of 50,000 people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The study aims to explore whether the disease causes cognitive impairment and other conditions.
- Recent research suggests that COVID-19 can, directly or indirectly, cause brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage and other neurological problems.
Brain images of a patient with acute demyelinating encephalomyelitis.
COVID-19 and the brain<p>A growing body of research reveals alarming neurological complications among COVID-19 patients. On Wednesday, for example, researchers from University College London published a <a href="https://academic.oup.com/brain/article/doi/10.1093/brain/awaa240/5868408" target="_blank">study</a> in the journal Brain that describes how some patients have suffered temporary brain dysfunction, strokes, nerve damage, and other neurological problems concurrent with COVID-19.</p><p>Some patients suffered brain inflammation as a result of a rare disease called acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, which can cause numbness, seizures, and confusion. One patient in the study even hallucinated monkeys and lions in her home.</p>
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images<p>A separate study published in the <a href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7198407/" target="_blank">Journal of Clinical Neuroscience</a> notes that some COVID-19 patients have also suffered neurological complications like impaired consciousness and acute cerebrovascular disease. The study notes that past viruses like MERS and SARS also seemed to cause neurological problems.</p><p>A troubling finding among this growing body of research is that some patients seem to suffer neurological damage even when respiratory symptoms aren't obvious. Additionally, scientists aren't sure whether damage from the disease will be permanent.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Given that the disease has only been around for a matter of months, we might not yet know what long-term damage COVID-19 can cause," Dr. Ross Paterson, joint first author of the University College London study, said in a <a href="https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-07/ucl-iid070620.php" target="_blank">press release</a>. "Doctors needs to be aware of possible neurological effects, as early diagnosis can improve patient outcomes."</p><p>If you've been diagnosed with COVID-19 and want to enroll in the study, visit <a href="https://www.cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study" target="_blank">cambridgebrainsciences.com/studies/covid-brain-study</a>.</p>
Coronavirus layoffs are a glimpse into our automated future. We need to build better education opportunities now so Americans can find work in the economy of tomorrow.