Planet Money: The Seattle Experiment

It’s no secret how elections work: A winning campaign costs a lot of money, so candidates court people who have the money to spend. Say, business interests. Then, when a politician takes office, their powerful donors have more influence than the average citizen. It’s not a great system.

So Seattleites decided to tear it all up and try something radical: Fighting big money by flooding elections with even more money. The experiment… did not necessarily go as planned.

This episode is a collaboration with Vox’s The Impact podcast.

Canadian Tech Sector Thrives, but Struggles to Keep Its Talent

Government seek to attract investment from big foreign players while stopping the brain drain

Mr. Trudeau has lamented a “brain drain” of Canada’s best tech minds, saying at a recent Google event in Toronto, “Quite frankly, we’re tired of Google poaching our best graduates from the University of Waterloo and sucking them down to California.”

.. Trudeau wrote to Mr. Bezos, asking him to consider Canada because of its inclusiveness, single-payer health-care system, and an immigration system designed to attract high-skilled talent.

.. Canada is widely considered to be at the nucleus of some world-leading research in areas such as machine learning and artificial intelligence.

.. Seminal work published by University of Toronto’s Geoffrey Hinton, University of Montreal’s Yoshua Bengio and others has spawned advancements in voice recognition and automated driving. Mr. Hinton published breakthrough research on “deep learning” in 2007 and 2012 that ushered in a new wave of AI and the potential it could have for smartphones, self-driving cars and other devices.

.. Canada’s AI talent pool is also the third biggest in the world behind the U.S. and the U.K., with about 1,100 researchers in the country

.. An Amazon move to Toronto might also end up being a “Trojan horse” that would draw Canadian workers to the company’s Seattle base rather than improve Canada’s economy

.. “The best and brightest Canadian engineers or marketers that operate under Amazon Canada will see their career path head down to Seattle, not in Canada,”

.. He says companies like Facebook have different needs than startups, noting that staff at Facebook’s AI lab in Montreal are focused on more advanced research.

.. Cole Clifford, a 23-year-old machine-learning engineer at Toronto-based startup DeepLearni.ng , said he received about 50 recruiter emails in his LinkedIn account last month, most of them from Silicon Valley firms

.. the Canadian government spent C$125 million last March to set up new AI “superclusters” in Toronto

.. The goal is to keep researchers in Canada and create 1,000 AI graduates in the next five years

.. “We aren’t realizing that the intellectual property developed by these individuals and all of those economic benefits are rarely in Canada and not taxed in Canada,” Mr. Ruffalo said. “That’s the problem.”

.. One potential avenue for keeping foreign companies in check is for Canada to withhold R&D tax incentives

.. Another option is to create a government-backed sovereign patent fund, similar to what South Korea, Japan and France have launched in recent years, which would protect smaller startups from patent claims by foreign companies

The Best $100,000+ Tech Jobs Are Increasingly Concentrated in Just 8 Cities

High prices aren’t enough to stop the momentum of the leading tech cities

In theory, the high-wage jobs of the technology industry could be filled by people working anywhere. But in practice, the best tech jobs in the U.S., offering salaries in excess of $100,000 a year, are becoming increasingly concentrated in the metropolitan areas of just eight cities, according to new research.

The eight leading U.S. tech hubs account for slightly less than 10% of U.S. jobs and about 13% of overall job postings. But the cities —

  1. Seattle,
  2. San Francisco,
  3. San Jose,
  4. Austin,
  5. Raleigh,
  6. Washington,
  7. Baltimore and
  8. Boston

— account for more than 27% of the listings for U.S. tech jobs

.. The finding is surprising in part because the cities are some of the most expensive in the country — for both employees and employers. Of the eight, only Raleigh, N.C., has seen home prices rise at a pace comparable to the national average. The other seven cities have grown dramatically more expensive in recent decades.