Saturday, December 07, 2013

Read of the day

Joel Kotkin, on the demise of Bloomberg and the implications for the urban gentry. An excerpt:
Becoming the ultimate playground to the rich made things worse for most middle class New Yorkers by imposing higher costs, particularly for rents. In fact, controlling for costs the average New York paycheck (costs) is among the lowest in the nation’s 51 largest metro areas, behind not only San Jose, but Houston, Raleigh, and a host of less celebrated burgs. A big part of this is the cost of rents. According to the Center for Housing Policy and National Housing Conference , 31 percent of New York’s working families pay over 50% of their income in rent, well above the national rate of 24 percent, which itself is far from tolerable.

Conditions for those further down the economic scale, of course, are even worse. The urban poor in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles or Philadelphia , notes analyst Sam Hersh, find their meager resources strained by high prices not common in less fashionable cities like Buffalo or Dallas. “In some ways,” he notes, “ the low cost of living in “unsuccessful” legacy cities means that quality of life is in many cases better than in those cities widely regarded as a success.”

The dirty little secret here is the persistence of urban poverty. Despite the hype over gentrification, urban economies—including that of New York—still underperform their periphery. Nearly half of New York’s residents, notes the Nation are either below the poverty line or just above it. Just look at the penultimate symbol of urban renaissance, Brooklyn. The county (home to most of my family till the 1950s) suffers a median per capita income in 2009 of just under $23,000, almost $10,000 below the national average.

Marquee cities haven’t “cured poverty” or exported it largely to the suburbs, as is regularly claimed. Cities still suffer a poverty rate twice as high as in the suburbs. Demographer Wendell Cox notes that some 80% of the population growth over the past decade in the nation’s 51 largest cities came from the ranks of those with lower incomes, most likely the children of the entrenched poor as well as immigrants.
As always, a lot more at the link. This won't end well.


Gino said...

todays 'gentry' dont bring wealth and prosperity like in days past.

ex: detroit, buffalo et al were built by industrialists, who created wealth and by extension, skilled/semi skilled factory jobs and wages..

todays gentry create nothing. they build nothing. they got rich through wealth transfer (bankers, stock brokers, various services... etc.)

we have a gentry who's only need is for low wage people to wait on them. they they have little use for a welder or a crew of machinists.

Bike Bubba said...

Of course, part of the issue is that, with rent controls, above market wages, the Mob, official corruption, and the like, I'm guessing that a lot of prospective employers don't consider Gotham at all. Probably has a lot more to do with the relative poverty of Gotham's masses than anything the ultra-rich are doing,no?