Essays on Economics, Politics, and International Trade

Mr. O'Connell is best reached by email at:

Biographical Information on Jock O'Connell

" How State Government Impedes California's Export Trade"

Sacramento Bee, May 22, 2016. This International Trade Month commentary describes how the compartmentalized actions of state government create burdens that uniquely fall on the state's export industries.

" How Jerry Brown's War on Climate Change May Only Make Things Worse"

Fox & Hounds, February 26, 2016. By discouraging trade via Southern California's efficient port infrastructure, increasingly stringent air quality regulations may improve environmental conditions near the ports, at the cost of diverting cargo on longer routes to East and Gulf Coast ports on ships burning bunker fuel.

" Big 'Ben' Delivers in a Big Way"

Sacramento Bee, January 3, 2016. An assessment of the economic and environmental significance of the possible deployment of the ultra-large container carrier MV Benjamin Franklin to the Asia-California trade route.

" Will the Brown Administration's War on Climate Change Doom California's Logistics Industry"

Fox & Hounds, October 20, 2015.

" California Leaders Take Another Stab at Fixing the State's Freight Network"

Sacramento Bee, August 11, 2015. A somewhat caustic look at efforts by state officials over the past two decades to reverse the deterioration of California's goods movement infrastructure.

" Panama Canal's New Move Could Rock the Boat for West Coast Ports "

May 11, 2015, Zocalo Public Square.

This article examines the challenge the expanded Panama Canal will likely pose for California's chief maritime gateways. (Zocalo Public Square is an online public affairs forum based in Los Angeles.)

" There are Monsters Out There: The real roots of congestion at West Coast ports"

Sacramento Bee, California Forum, February 15, 2015. I submit that the congested conditions that have beset West Coast ports over the past year was not caused by the labor contract dispute between the ILWU and Pacific Maritime Association.

" Keep Sending Mayor Garcetti to Asia "

January 28, 2015, Zocalo Public Square.

This article explores the emergence of municipal strategies aimed at promoting exports and attracting foreign direct investment. (Zocalo Public Square is an online public affairs forum based in Los Angeles.)

" Questioning the Trade Numbers with Mexico"

July 27, 2014, Sacramento Bee. As California Gov. Jerry Brown leaves on a trade mission to Mexico City today, this article deconstructs the official statistics on California's export trade with Mexico and argues that there are two distinct Mexicos to which California firms ship goods: the indigenous economy of Mexico and the largely separate maquiladora sector of manufacturing plants almost entirely owned by European, Asian, and U.S. multinationals which import nearly all of their components and export nearly all of their products -- mostly to the United States. It concludes that, while Mexico may indeed be California's leading export destination, Mexicans may not be our most valuable foreign customers.

" Why Focusing on Exports Doesn't Make Economic Sense"

Pacific Standard magazine, May-June 2013 issue. An anlysis of the specious relationship between export promotion and job creation at home.

" Before Governor Brown leaves for China: Revaluing California's export trade"

April 6, 2013, Sacramento Bee. This article deconstructs statistics on California's export trade and reveals how much of that trade involves previously imported goods. As a result, the economic benefits of exporting have been much less than previously believed.

" The Meaning of Monopoly "

Pacific Standard Magazine February 7, 2013.

From American socialism to German hyperinflation to worldwide vulture capitalism, the strange and shifting lessons of a favorite board game.

" What are the real prospects for repatriating factory jobs from abroad? "

Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum, February 3, 2013.

This op-ed article takes a critical look at recent efforts to promote the idea that America is on the verge of seeing a major shift of manufcaturing capacity back to the United States after decades of offshoring.

" My Billion Dollar Baby "

Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum, December 9, 2012.

This op-ed article reveals the author's role in the story of how the media as well as public officials erroneously pegged the cost of the Southern California dock strike of November 27-December 4, 2012 at $1 billion a day.

" Global Trade Rankings Need Higher Dose of Statistical Accuracy"

Export Magazine, a publication of the Riverside County Office of Foreign Trade, August 2012. This article contends that a recent Global Trade magazine report on the Riverside area's export trade both misstates and understates the region's role in the nation's export trade.

" California’s Seaports and the “Bigger Ditch” in Panama " January 29, 2012, Sacramento Bee Forum article.

This op-ed article examines the likely impact that an enlarged Panama Canal will have on California's major seaports, especially the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.

" Inconvenient Assets: California's Ports in a Storm. " December 4, 2011, Sacramento Bee Forum article.

This op-ed describes the importance of California's seaports to the state's economy but also the near indifference the competitive needs of the ports face at the state capitol.

" Debunking Some Popular Myths About California's Export Trade "

April 17, 2011, Sacramento Bee. This Sunday Forum section article examines a number of prevalent misconceptions about what California exports and how those goods are transported to markets worldwide.

" Jerry Brown's Challenge: Promoting California's Interests in a Global Economy "

December 29, 2010, Sacramento Bee. This op-ed suggests what California's new governor should and should not consider doing to bolster the state's competitive position in the global marketplace for jobs and investment capital.

" Reality Check for Sacramento's Downtown Arena Scheme "

March 14, 2010, Sacramento Bee Forum article. This op-ed critically examines the leading proposal for building a sports and entertainment conmplex in downtown Sacramento to replace Arco Arena.

" Fiscal reality points to an austere future "

February 15, 2009, Sacramento Bee. This commentary warns that government revenues are unlikely to return to pre-recession levels anytime soon and that budgets premised on the hope of a relatively swift return to "normal" will need to be revised in anticipation of an extended period of fiscal austerity.

" On Counting Trade in Widgets in a Globalizing, Digitizing World " by Jock O'Connell, Gary Dymski and Kelly Bradfield of the University of California Center Sacramento. This September 2008 draft paper addresses the growing worldwide market in digital products (computer programs, music, literature, etc.) being sold via Internet downloads. Because existing methods of monitoring merchandise trade fail to capture these transactions, we argue that the U.S. merchandise trade deficit is appreciably smaller than is customarily reported. Public policy debates about the virtues of trade and globalization are accordingly distorted.

" Taking the Fast Plane to China: An Expanded Role for Air Freight in Increasing California's Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Exports to China "

January 2008. This report was commissioned by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and was published under the auspices of the Center for Agricultural Business, California Agricultural Technology Institute, California State University, Fresno. The report examines the feasibility and desirability of using air freight services more extensively than ever before, at least on an interim basis, to supply California-grown fruits and vegetables to what U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service officials have identified as China's most promising Emerging City Markets (ECMs). With an increasing number of direct and indirect flight connections available between California and China's first-tier and second-tier urban markets, exporters of perishable fruits and vegetables should take a new look at air-freight's potential in overcoming severe shortcomings in China's cold-chain systems.

" The Tale of the Two Taoisigh "

December 2007. A mildly amusing story of how the author chatted with two Irish Prime Ministers in the same year -- one at a cocktail party in Sacramento, California; the other in Fagan's Pub in Dublin.

" The Role of Air Cargo in California's Agricultural Export Trade: A 2007 Update"

August 15, 2007. Co-Authored with Bert Mason, Chair of the Agricultural Economics Department at California State University, Fresno. Published by the Center for Agricultural Business, California Agricultural Technology Institute, California State University, Fresno (CATI Pub. #070801). This report updates the authors' comprehensive 2005 study of the use of air cargo to ship more than a half-billion dollars annually in California agricultural products worldwide.

" Growing the SACOG Region's Logistics Sector: How Much, How Fast? "

March 30, 2007. This whitepaper for the Sacramento Area Council of Governments challenges the claim that the logistics sector is emerging as a potent source of high-paying jobs for workers with no more than a high school education and with no technical skills.

" 'Cargo fee' bill contains problems "

September 15, 2006, Daily Breeze (Torrance, California). This op-ed article takes exception to pending state legislation that would impose a fee on containers shipped through the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach in order to raise funds for environmental and transportation projects. The bill was subsequently vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger.

" America's Dependence on Flight-by-Night Operators: The Underappreciated Role of Air Cargo in the U.S. Economy "

Economic Development America, the magazine of the U.S. Economic Development Administration. Spring 2006. "In today’s global economy – with its burgeoning overseas markets, far-flung supply chains, lean inventories and just-in-time delivery schedules – efficient and reliable transportation links to the rest of the world have become indispensable assets to any community aspiring to remain economically competitive. Yet seldom has the nature of those links been less well understood or appreciated."

" Why Governor Schwarzenegger's Infrastructure Plan Doesn't Fly. "

February 27, 2006. San Francisco Chronicle Open Forum section. "With the U.S. trade deficit hitting a record high of more than $725 billion in 2005, why is California poised to spend tens of billions of dollars on transportation projects specifically designed to facilitate shipments of imported goods through our major seaports, while all but ignoring the transport needs of the state's exporters?"

" ...and good Peking duck is all Arnold can hope for. "

November 13, 2005. Los Angeles Times Sunday Opinion section. "With Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger heading to China this week with a handpicked posse of corporate executives, business lobbyists and administration officials, it's pertinent to ask an impertinent question: What, apart from self-promotion, is achieved when California's governors globetrot?"

" Goods Just Don't Move By Sea. "

October 6, 2005. San Diego Union-Tribune Opinion page. This op-ed article contends that if California's political leadership is serious about devising a truly comprehensive goods movement strategy – one that serves the interests of the state's exporters and not just the nation's importers – it would do well to start fretting about the state's air transport capacity.

" San Diego's Need for a True International Airport. "

September 22, 2005. San Diego Daily Transcript. This Sounding Board contribution points out that San Diego area businesses have grown dangerously dependent on Los Angeles International airport for their air cargo links to the global economy. It emphasizes the need for the San Diego region to build a new international airport or substantially expand the capacity of Lindbergh Field.

" Sacramento: A No-Fly Zone for International Trade. "

September 18, 2005. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum. This commentary warns that the advent of overseas fights at Sacramento International Airport and Mather Field (the region's designated air cargo facility) may hinge less on favorable market forces than on the vagaries of regional governance and, more particularly, the vicissitudes of land-use politics.

" The Role of Air Cargo in California's Agricultural Export Trade. "

May 2005. This 200-page report examines California's rapidly growing airborne agricultural export trade ($659 million in 2004). It also provides an extensive analysis of the forces reshaping the air cargo industry both internationally and within California. The report was prepared under the auspices of the Center for Agricultural Business at California State University, Fresno, with grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the California Department of Food and Agriculture. My co-authors were Professor Bert Mason and Professor Emeritus John Hagen of the Department of Agricultural Economics at CSU Fresno.

" On the Global Road: The Sacramento Valley must upgrade transportation lines to embrace world market. "

April 17, 2005. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum. This commentary decries the lack of attention from regional transportation planners to the flood of goods that is expected to engulf the highways and railroads coursing through the Sacramento area within the next decade.

" Missed Connection on Air Cargo. "

August 3, 2004. San Francisco Chronicle Op-Ed Page. This commentary calls attention to San Francisco International Airport's failure to expand its air cargo operations and the impact this is likely to have on the Bay Area's ability to remain competitive in a global economy.

" International Trade is Swamping California's Transportation Infrastructure. "

July 4, 2004. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum section.

It's virtually a testament of faith among politicians, economists and editorial pundits that trade is good and more trade is presumably better. Of late, however, this buoyant sentiment is being met with a guarded "yes, but ..." response from California's trade professionals. What's troubling those on the front lines of international commerce is that the enormous volume of goods we're importing and exporting is starting to overwhelm California's trade gateways and the connective tissue of highways and railroads that lead to and from them.

" War's grim price is paid over and over again. "

May 30, 2004. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum section. An essay on war and society prompted by a visit to Belleau Wood and the American Military Cemetery that lies adjacent it.

" Downtown Intermodal Depot: The Hub Goes on the Rim? "

March 21, 2004. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum section. How the City of Sacramento's plan to spend $160 million on a new intermodal transit center on the site of the historic Southern Pacific depot in downtown Sacramento ignores the region's real transportation needs.

" Toward Defining an International Trade Strategy for California. "

March 15, 2004 Internet Posting. A policy proposal calling for Governor Schwarzenegger to establish an International Trade Policy Task Force to determine the most effective role state government can play in promoting the competitiveness of California industry in a global economy. The proposal also calls for a moratorium on trade-related measures in the Legislature until the task force reports its findings by December 31, 2004.

" The folly of deep-sixing the Port of Sacramento. "

November 30, 2003. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum section. Why current moves to sanction the development of property adjacent to the Port of Sacramento for mixed-use purposes would be contrary to the region's long-term needs for a diversified transportation system to link it to the global economy.

" No State Strategy for Trade. "

August 24, 2003. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum section. Under the terms of the budget signed by Gov. Gray Davis earlier this month, the California Technology, Trade and Commerce Agency as well as the California State World Trade Commission are being eliminated. The big question is whether legislators meant to leave the state with no institutional focal point for monitoring international trade negotiations, assessing the overall impact of foreign trade and investment on California and determining what kinds of policies best serve California's interests in this age of globalization.

" California's shuttering all of its foreign trade offices save Yerevan. "

August 3, 2003. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum section. After shutting down its trading posts in places like London, Tokyo, Shanghai, Singapore and Hong Kong, California, the world�s fifth largest economy, may soon open a commercial office in Armenia, the world�s 114th largest. This article explains how raw politics rather than commercial wisdom informs California's trade policy.

" California's Foreign Trade Offices Are A Laughing Matter. "

June 29, 2003. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum section. California's dozen foreign trade offices were already in jeopardy this spring before press reports in late May brought the first whiff of scandal. With the budget axe slashing deeply into state spending on education, public safety, health care and a host of programs targeting the state's most vulnerable citizens, the betting around the state Capitol was that the Davis administration would be lucky to secure money for three of the overseas outposts.

" Other view: Why just look to Europe? There's more to this world. "

May 4, 2003. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum section. This essay suggests it may be time for a new foreign policy paradigm that recognizes how America's increasing ethnic diversity and global trading interests are undermining the traditional Atlanticist bias in U.S. foreign policymaking.

" Is the NAFTA common market good for democracy? Yes, it could be but maybe at the expense of its critics. "

March 23, 2003. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum section. A critique of an essay by Jeff Faux, co-founder of the Washington, D.C. based Economic Policy Institute, on how to "democratize" the North American Free Trade Agreement.

" Down on the Farm "

January 2003. California Journal . California's agriculture industry faces increasing pressure from low-cost foreign growers that could ultimately spell the demise of production agriculture in the Golden State but also a previously unimaginable water surplus in a state long noted for its disputes over water.

" Why George W. Bush Has Corporate America Nervous. "

December 15, 2002. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum section. Why the Bush administration's strident brand of unilateralism poses serious problems for America's multinational corporations and for the future path of global economic integration.

" Wary Days for Multinationals "

October 13, 2002. Los Angeles Times Sunday Opinion section. Why Bush's Unilateral Foreign Policy is Bad for American Business.

" The Myth of Regionalism "

August 25, 2002. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum section. A critical commentary on efforts of 'civic entrepreneurs' to build a stronger sense of regional identity among residents of the six-county Capitol Region centered on Sacramento, California.

" A Trade Policy for Maine: Building Enduring Business-to-Business Ties "

August 15, 2002. Portland [Maine] Press Herald Maine Voices column. Why Maine's economy is apt to benefit more from a policy of fostering enduring cross-border businesslinks than from traditional export promotion programs.

" The Dollar Doldrums and California's Budget Crisis "

July 7, 2002. Los Angeles Times Sunday Opinion section. How the dollar's continuing depreciation will likely affect California's ongoing budget woes.

" California's Foreign Trade Offices: A Mission Implausible. "

June 9, 2002. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum. Why California should abandon its failed experiment with foreign trade offices.

" Global competition imperils farmers: California can't grow cheaper specialty crops, but it could aim for an upscale market. "

May 19, 2002. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum, with James R. King. Why California policymakers should be paying closer attention to competition from foreign specialty crop growers and one way Golden State farmers can remain competitive in the global market.

" Bush's plan for a Western Hemispheric trade pact: Don't bet the farm on it.""

February 3, 2002. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum. President Bush's ambitious plan to extend NAFTA into Central and South America faces some monumental hurdles.

" Is World Trade the Next casualty? 9-11 and hard times in the economy may have doomed globalization. "

November 4, 2001. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum. If the World Trade Organization summit that begins in Qatar later this week fails to yield any appreciable progress in establishing a workable negotiating framework for further trade liberalization, globalization could go the same way as the similarly ballyhooed New Economy.

" Here's To You, Ed Norton. "

Comstock's Business magazine, November 2001 issue. It's not a reliable electricity supply that distinguishes California from a Third World country quite as much as it's our sewer system. So this article takes an up-close look at what moves beneath the streets of Sacramento.

" What's in a Trade Statistic? Less and Less. "

August 19, 2001. Los Angeles Times Opinion section. Why export-import data are becoming increasingly misleading barometers of international commerce.

" Globalization and the Perils of Farming in California's Central Valley. "

July 29, 2001. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum section. This commentary raises questions about government policies that assume agriculture will remain the dominant industry in California's Central Valley for the foreseeable future. Already imperiled by a host of domestic problems such as rising costs, lower crop prices, urban sprawl, water shortages, and resistance to pesiticide use, the region's growers are now facing more aggressive foreign competition for markets here and abroad.

" Flying In the Face of Reality. "

May 16, 2001. San Francisco Chronicle. This op-ed argues for establishment of a broad-based business coalition to support the air transport needs of the Bay Area's economy.

" The Future of the Sacramento Region's Economy is Literally Up in the Air. "

May 2001 issue. Comstock's Business magazine. This article describes the growing air transport needs of the Sacramento region.

" On Administering Baseball's First Rites "

April 1, 2001. Sacramento Bee Sunday Forum section. Commemorating the opening day of the 2001 major league baseball season, a memoir of the day my father took me to see my first big league game forty-one years ago as the Boston Red Sox hosted the New York Yankees in Fenway Park.

" To Fly High, California's Economy Must First Get Airborne. "

March 25, 2001. Los Angeles Times Sunday Opinion section. "It's a familiar sight on the front page and the evening news: Crowds of exasperated and angry passengers, stranded by flight delays or cancellations, milling around the airport. Yet, while stranded airline-ticket holders get the attention, the frustration of businesses trying to negotiate the same over-stressed air transportation system to get their goods to market is virtually ignored. That's regrettable, because deficiencies in air-freight operations hurt the economy much more than hordes of disgruntled holiday travelers."

" Suzanne Vaupel: A Conscientious Capitalist. "

February 2001 issue of Comstock's Business magazine. A profile of one of the world's leading figures in the field of organic food.

" Managing the Consequences of Prosperity: A Report for the Inter-Regional Partnership. "

January 10, 2001. Co-authored with James R. King, this report was prepared for the East [San Francisco] Bay Economic Development Alliance for Business. It addresses several consequences of the jobs-affordable housing imbalance between the counties of the East Bay and the adjacent counties of the Central Valley.

" Hubris Strikes Again: Lessons From the Quackenbush Affair. "

December 2000 issue of Comstock's Business magazine. This article examines how state officials have been gingerly responding to the scandal over the abuse of power and the misuse of funds that brought down California's elected Insurance Commissioner, Charles ("Chuck") Quackenbush last summer.

" California's Foreign Trade Offices Are More Politics Than Business. "

November 12, 2000. Los Angeles Times Sunday Opinion section. "In a move straight of out the Jerry Brown playbook, Gov. Gray Davis stunned the international business and diplomatic communities earlier this month when he abruptly canceled a Far Eastern trade mission a mere week before its scheduled departure. His excuse -- that the state's long-simmering electricity supply crisis demands he remain close to home -- persuaded no one. Whatever the real reasons for scrubbing the mission, the episode reinforces an image of an administration whose handling of state trade policy and programs has been remarkably clumsy and cavalier..."

"Yet Another Modest Proposal: Resolving the Riddle of Campaign Finance Reform. "

November 2000, California Journal. Tongue firmly in cheek, this article advances the argument that the only sure way of ridding the American political system of the corrosive effects of money is to abolish elections.

" The Globalization of Organic Food: California Leads The Way "

October 8, 2000, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum section. Examines how increasing numbers of California farmers -- both small and large -- are turning to organic farming to capture higher prices and burgeoning export markets.

"Time to Open U.S. Borders? Not This Year Vicente Fox finds his neighbors don't share his vision "

August 25, 2000, San Francisco Chronicle, Op-Ed page. Commentary on Mexican President-Elect Vicente Fox's border reform proposals and the challenges facing Mexico's economy.

"Is California Seeking To Fashion Its Own Foreign Policy? "

August 20, 2000, Los Angeles Times, Sunday Opinion section. This commentary examines the potential for huge public pension funds -- notably, the California Public Employees Retirement System (CalPERS) and the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) -- to encroach upon the federal government's constitutional monopoly over the conduct of American foreign policy by denying investment funds to nations otherwise regarded as U.S. allies.

"Chinese Illusions: Central Valley Farmers and the WTO "

August 13, 2000, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. This article assesses the prospects for an expanded export market in China for farmers in California's Central Valley.

"Today's Shanghai: Model of the New China or Potemkin Village? "

August 13, 2000, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. Impressions of modern Shanghai.

"A Tangled Web: When State Agencies Do Business Overseas."

June 2000 issue of Comstock's Business. What have Russian mobsters, Chinese intelligence agencies, Colombian drug lords, and the notorious international terrorist Osama Bin Laden to do with the California Public Employees Retirement System or the California Department of Transportation? Absolutely nothing, we hope. But can we be certain? Not necessarily, according to this article.

"California's State Trade Programs: Economic Assets or Political Props?"

June 2000 issue of Comstock's Business. This commentary argues that the principal constituency for the State of California's export promotion programs -- especially the proliferating number of state foreign trade offices -- is to be found within the walls of the State Capitol and not in the business community.

"How To Plan A Better Infrastructure for 21st Century California."

May 28, 2000, Los Angeles Times, Sunday Opinion section. Co-authored with James R. King. A proposal for improving the manner in which California defines and prioritizes its statewide infrastructure needs.

"California Industry's Growing Reliance on 'Fly-by-Night' Operators."

May 14, 2000, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. California's transportation policymakers are overlooking the vital role of air cargo facilities in supporting the state's burgeoning export trade.

"Southern Exposure: Emerging Business Opportunities in Latin America"

February 2000, Comstock's Business. A look at commercial links between the Sacramento Valley, Mexico and the rest of Latin America.

"A high-tech exodus looms as growth chokes state"

January 30, 2000. Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum with James R. King. Why economic growth may prompt successful New Economy companies to look outside California to meet their expansion plans and what the state can do about it.

"WTO, State Law On A Collison Course"

January 23, 2000, Los Angeles Times Sunday Opinion section. How state laws and international trade agreements may conflict and what California's state government is or isn't to address the issue.

"Has the time come to empower Sacramento's next Mayor?"

January 2000, Comstock's Business . An examination of the pros and cons of adopting a strong-mayor form of municipal government in California's capital.

"My First International Trade Deal"

November 18, 1999. The story of how I sold Soviet propaganda posters thirty years ago to college students in Massachusetts, including an undergraduate named Clarence Thomas.

"What Gov. Davis Really Gained on His Foreign-Trade Mission"

November 7, 1999. Los Angeles Times, Sunday Opinion section. The real value of gubernatorial trade missions.

"The Political Hysteria That Keeps Our State Crumbling "

August 15, 1999. Los Angeles Times, Sunday Opinion section. This article reminds us how policymaking hysteria can upset the best laid infrastructure plans.

"Soft Data on Software Exports"

August 15, 1999. Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. Why one of our fastest growing and internationally competitive industries generates so few exports.

"State's Trade Going South?"

June 4, 1999, San Francisco Chronicle, Op-Ed Page. How either a failure or an unwillingness to understand the limitations of the so-called "state-of-origin" export data has led to a positively absurd political controversy regarding whether California's export trade with Mexico is smaller or larger than Texas's trade south of the border.

"Redeeming Cousin Billy: An Elegy for Memorial Day"

May 30, 1999, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. Challenges the conclusion of a hasty US Air Force inquiry into the December 1952 crash of a C-124 troop transport at Moses Lake, Washington, which fixed the responsibility for the disaster in which 86 lives were lost on the pilot, Lt. William N. O'Connell. The article reveals evidence suggesting a cover-up of the role played in the crash by faulty USAF maintenance procedures and flawed aircraft design.

"Our Own Best Customers: The Role of the Gringo Archipelago in US-Mexico Trade "

May 16, 1999, Los Angeles Times, Sunday Opinion. Published on the eve of President Ernesto Zedillo's official visit to California, this article examines how vital a trading partner Mexico really is.

"California's Foreign Trade Offices At A Crossroads"

May 9, 1999, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. Recommendations for reforming the objectives and administration of California's foreign trade offices.

"Sorry, Pac Bell, But The Phone Is Not My Friend"

March 28, 1999, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. Wry commentary on why I have all but abandoned the telephone as a civilized means of communications.

"California's Latin America strategy based on flawed data"

March 7, 1999, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. Why California's export trade with Mexico and Latin America is systematically under-reported and why the data we commonly use are growing more and more distorted.

"Bring in Da Hype, Bring in Da Euro "

January 24, 1999, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. How obsessions and manias can displace prudent business practices and government policies, distorting California's overseas trade relations in the process.

"Can California's chief executive effectively manage the world's seventh largest economy?"

November 1, 1998, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. This article appeared alongside the economic policy statements of the Democratic and Republican candiadtes for Governor of California on the Sunday before the general election.

"The Old Economist's Almanac (Pacific Rim Edition) "

July 26, 1998, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. An inquiry into the catastrophic failure of economists and market analysts to foresee the economic crisis in Asia.

"Teetering on the Rim: California Feels Asia's Pain "

July 26, 1998, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. How the Golden State is beginning to feel the pinch of its over-dependence on Asian markets.

"How Green Was Our Valley: A Cautionary Tale of 2020 Sacramento "

March 1, 1998, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. A critical discussion of the challenge of regional planning in the face of rapid demographic and commercial change.

"Toward Revising California's State Trade Programs"

October 1997 Website posting. An invitation to a dialogue aimed at enhancing California's export promotion efforts.

"In the Really New Economy, Dinosaurs Dine on Gazelles"

October 23, 1994, San Jose Mercury-News, Sunday Perspective. This article submits that the accelerating pace of mergers and acquisitions in the preceding eighteen months involving California high technology companies undermines the contentions of those analysts who argue that the state's so- called New Economy is based on a proliferating number of small, entrepreneurial enterprises.

"The Gubernatorial Race: So What If It Is The Economy?"

July 3, 1994, San Jose Mercury-News, Sunday Perspective. This article maintains that neither Pete Wilson nor Kathleen Brown will, after being elected governor in November, be able to deal with the fundamental problems besetting the state's economy without first forging a new political consensus defining state government's legitimate role in economic development.

"Does California Really Need Overseas Trade Offices?"

May 2, 1994, San Francisco Chronicle, Business Opinion. This article argues that the value of California's five overseas trade and investment offices has been vitiated by the lack of a coherent export development strategy and by poor administrative practices.

"Bromides and Nostrums: Dubious Prescriptions For What Ails California's Economy"

May 9, 1993, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. A generally caustic appraisal of state government's inability to properly diagnose, let alone remedy, California's current economic ills.

"Is Pete Wilson Bungling California's Efforts in International Trade?"

June 8, 1993, Sacramento Bee. An Op-Ed article critical of both the Wilson administration's failure to fill vacancies in key posts at four of the five California overseas trade and investment offices and its attempts to bureaucratize the functions of the California State World Trade Commission.

"Human Rights and International Trade Policy"

October 3, 1993, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. A dispassionate analysis of the disproportionate share of the national cost which California's exporters and their employees shoulder when the US Government imposes unilateral trade sanctions on other nations.

"Manufacturing a Political Crisis: The Job Flight Controversy"

January 5, 1992, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. This feature article casts serious doubt on whether an allegedly hostile business climate is precipitating "job flight" to other states.

"Japan and the Building of a Fortress Americas"

October 27, 1991. Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. A discussion of how various American interests are served through efforts to represent Japan as a grave threat to the United States.

"A North American Free Trade Agreement: What's Really In It For Us?"

May 5, 1991. Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. An analysis of the likely effects of including Mexico in a North American Free Trade Agreement; argues that most of the benefits promised by advocates of a free trade agreement between the US and Mexico can actually be achieved merely through the increased liberalization of Mexico's trade and investment policies.

"Reassessing State Government's Role in International Commerce"

February 24, 1991, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. A critical review of the state's international trade development programs.

"Federalism and States' Rights in World Affairs"

November 4, 1990, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. An assessment of the potential for conflict between federal officials and state governments in the area of international trade policy.

"Thoughts on a Free-Trade Agreement with Mexico"

June 3, 1990, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. An examination of why U.S. and Mexican officials have come to embrace a free trade agreement.

"State Government's Extra-Territorial Reach"

February 25, 1990, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. A discussion of how state politicians have sought to create a de facto foreign policy for California.

"State Government Ventures Abroad"

January 1990, The Golden State Report. A critical review of the state's international trade development programs in the Deukmejian administration.

"The Changing Face of Communist Europe: New Challenges for California Industry"

November 26, 1989, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. An assessment of how California firms might benefit from economic and political change in Eastern Europe.

"The Procrustean Rim"

September 10, 1989, Sacramento Bee, Sunday Forum. An examination of efforts to create a loose trading bloc in the Far East.

"Comrade Zolotuhkin and 'The Fonz'"

August 2, 1989, New York Times, Op-Ed Page. A personal account of how Russian paranoia affected their analyzes of American social and political trends.

"The Not-So-Great Foreign Investment Debate"

July 9, 1989, Los Angeles Times. A discussion of why foreign direct investment in the U.S. is unlikely to be either a major boon or a serious danger.

"Foreign Investment: The Job Creation Myth"

December 4, 1988, Los Angeles Times. This article raises questions about the enormous benefits often cited by proponents of unrestricted foreign investment in the United States

"Pacific Rim Trade: Is There a There There?"

January 22, 1988, Oakland Tribune. This prescient essay raises questions about popular tendencies to over-emphasize the significance of California's links with Pacific Rim trading partners.

"Books Reviewed for the San Francisco Chronicle"

Jock O'Connell