The myth of the cities

When I was in college, I remember getting into a debate of some topic with a guy from Jacksonville FL. I made a point that not everyone lives in cities, He argued that the cities were the source of American life, the rest of the nations was “flyover country.”

I wanted to belt him.

With changing economic times, it seems that cities are not living up to their promise.

In the twenty-first century—the first in which the majority of people will live in cities—this unique link between urbanism and upward mobility is under threat. Urban boosters still maintain that big cities remain unique centers for social uplift, but evidence suggests this is increasingly no longer the case.

New York and Los Angeles have, among all U.S. cities, the smallest share of middle-income neighborhoods.

This process reflects a shift in economic and social realities over the past few decades. For example, according to a recent Brookings Institution study, New York and Los Angeles have, among all U.S. cities, the smallest share of middle-income neighborhoods. In 1980, Manhattan ranked 17th among the nation’s counties for social inequality; by 2007 it ranked first, with the top fifth earning 52 times that of the lowest fifth, a disparity roughly comparable to that of Namibia.

Urban Plight: Vanishing Upward Mobility
By Joel Kotkin

Kotkin goes on to describe London. With globalization, poverty has increased in several sectors of London’s working class neighborhoods. Since London (and the U.K.) are controlled by what we would call liberals, what do you think they are doing about it?

Nothing at all.

Indeed, most progressives would like to see less development. Like the Inner Party from 1984, they want to restrict opportunity and development to their chattering class and fore the rest of the world into less development. “Green jobs” favor media, entertainment and other white collar work. Traditional work such as manufacturing and industry are vilified under the green regime. No jobs for the blue collar, no jobs at all except for at the bottom of the wage scale. Most of those are taken by illegal immigrants in this country.

I was told that republicans would expand the wage gap and the “gulf” between rich and poor by favoring the rich. The left does it by design and manages to sell it to the poor under the guise of socialism. We want economic opportunity for all, they want to force us to work in squalor while they enjoy their wealth. The progressive left on the other hand wants to restrict the economy and jobs. By holding industry down, they hold wages down. But a green economy has no place for the industries that actually employ people who make real goods.

Cities can be cold and cruel for those without money. By restricting jobs and businesses, the poor are deprived of what makes a city great: the ability to work hard and improve yourself. each industry employs people to make it work and businesses that make it’s job possible. Take it away and not only do the jobs go, so do the jobs from the companies that support it. And city boosters forget that “polluting” industries make cities possible. Roads, power plants, and manufacturing run a real cities economy. Nothing comes from “green jobs.”

This is all just hot air to liberals and environmentalists. They want government to “support” the poor. Ask poor Londoners how that works out for them:

Estimates by the Centre for Social Justice finds that unaffordability for first-time buyers doubled between 1997 and 2007. This has led to a surge in waiting lists for government-funded “social housing”; by mid-2008, some 2 million households (5 million people) were on the waiting list for such housing. In London, this number reached one in ten in 2008.

See our future? While the rich (thanks to outsourcing and illegal immigrant labor) can support their green jobs, we will be forced to rely on government.

I don’t hate cities, but the false promises of “green jobs” and liberals white collar world blind them to the mess they are making.

The mess we’ll have to clean up.

(h:t: instapundit)

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