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There goes the neighborhood. . .
July 24, 2006 1:38 PM   Subscribe


 
If they think it's Clinton's fault, they be crazy.
posted by Captaintripps at 1:42 PM on July 24, 2006


Clinton moved to Harlem because there were problems with the original office he wanted in midtown.
posted by Falconetti at 1:43 PM on July 24, 2006


Harlem was Bill's second choice, his first choice caused an uproar for its upscale high rent location. too lazy to link
posted by hortense at 1:46 PM on July 24, 2006


This is ridiculous. Aren't all of NYC's lower-rent areas suffering from gentrification? I know I've seen articles about other areas of NYC dealing with the same problems and it certainly isn't all Billy boy's fault.
posted by kaytwo at 1:46 PM on July 24, 2006


Clinton moved to Harlem because there were problems with the original office he wanted in midtown.

Well, I'm betting the M&G Diner being nearby didn't hurt.
posted by jonmc at 1:47 PM on July 24, 2006


Give. Me. A. Break.
posted by keswick at 1:48 PM on July 24, 2006


Rent has risen in Williamsburg where I live now, and in the East Village - that must be Clintons fault too.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 1:48 PM on July 24, 2006


"The booming stagflating American economy..."
posted by 517 at 1:48 PM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


But his move to Harlem, known as the Black Capital of America, has had unintended consequences. The protest march by 40 mainly elderly people to 125th Street was organised by the Harlem Tenants Council to protest at property prices, which have rocketed since Mr Clinton moved in.

What an asshole! He took them from ghetto-fabulous to simply fabulous.
posted by StrasbourgSecaucus at 1:50 PM on July 24, 2006


Yet another tragic example of America's first black president on black tenant economic violence. I blame rappers and their gangsta culture of bling and "getting mine."
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:52 PM on July 24, 2006


I knew he hated black people when he had Ron Brown killed in the Balkans.
posted by Mayor Curley at 1:54 PM on July 24, 2006 [2 favorites]


Wow: "Dozens of angry blacks..." (emphasis added)
posted by twsf at 1:55 PM on July 24, 2006


As prices rise sharply, the area is fast becoming more staid and crime is falling.

Except, of course, for wanton groping, which has seen a rise of 200%.
posted by ColdChef at 1:55 PM on July 24, 2006


buh? Clinton is at fault for my rising property tax!!! In MN!!!

this is silly, but I guess it's pointless to protest to someone with any power to change things, or has responsibility for the actions so let's protest someone tangential to the issue.
posted by edgeways at 1:56 PM on July 24, 2006


I'll bet Bush is behind all this.
posted by hortense at 1:56 PM on July 24, 2006


Its all Starbucks Clinton's fault, obviously!
posted by skallas at 1:58 PM on July 24, 2006


idiotic. crime is down everywhere in NYC and rents are up everywhere. My area of Brooklyn has seen similar price increases (about 60% for rents and 80% for purchases) since 1999 and it was an expensive area to start with.

I have to wonder why this is news -- my guess is there is a local politician in Harlem trying to make a spin.
posted by n9 at 2:02 PM on July 24, 2006


For what its worth Starbucks moved in to that part of town long before Clinton did.
posted by humanfont at 2:02 PM on July 24, 2006


Who's fault is it that the same thing has happened in Philadelphia? Can I blame Rck Santorum for it?
posted by illovich at 2:03 PM on July 24, 2006


I don't see the logic in this. When Clinton lived in Arkansas property values didn't skyrocket.

I believe it had to be the Olukayode Babalola Law Offices that caused this rush to the neighborhood.
posted by ?! at 2:12 PM on July 24, 2006


Is gentrification code for racism?

Should whitey be condemned to an eternity in the suburbs?
posted by pwedza at 2:13 PM on July 24, 2006


Wait, I thought Columbia University was supposed to be Harlem's big bad gentrifying boogeyman.

Can we go back to throwing rocks at Ratner for Atlantic Yards now?
posted by huskerdont at 2:17 PM on July 24, 2006


"Can I blame Rck Santorum for it?"

You can't go wrong blaming Santorum (for anything).
posted by MikeMc at 2:18 PM on July 24, 2006


MikeMc: Well, much as I dislike the guy when you start saying "my grandmother's gout is Santorum's fault" you've lost a lot of momentum.
posted by sotonohito at 2:24 PM on July 24, 2006


We are the Swift Boat Veterans against Urban Renewal, and we approve this protest.
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:25 PM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


"He's the only ex-president who truly came to the 'hood, to set up office in the 'hood," said Jose Gonzalez, 24, who works at the Nice & E-Z deli across 125th Street from Clinton's building. "People are glad he's here."

Meh. He works in the 2-8, and everyone knows it's gone soft. No one hardly even gets murdered there anymore. The hardasses bang in the 6-7-- move there, Jose, and see what a real 'hood looks like.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:26 PM on July 24, 2006


(Oh, damn. I wasted my 1000th comment on another crap snark. I can still make the most of this things, however...)
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:29 PM on July 24, 2006


The protest march by 40 mainly elderly people to 125th Street was organised by the Harlem Tenants Council to protest at property prices, which have rocketed since Mr Clinton moved in.

Not to discount the sometimes deleterious effects of gentrification, but 40 people at a protest is hardly a mass movement. Besides, as has been mentioned upthread, nearly all of NYC is gentrifying. The LES is fast becoming unaffordable with no help at all from any ex-president.
posted by Afroblanco at 2:29 PM on July 24, 2006


I thought rent controls kept people's rents static as long as they didn't move. Is that still the case?

Anyway, gentrification sucks, I guess.
posted by delmoi at 2:34 PM on July 24, 2006


Anyway, gentrification sucks, I guess.

Why?
posted by Kwantsar at 2:38 PM on July 24, 2006


I wonder what will happen to the area where GWB will take up office come 2009.
posted by beno at 2:43 PM on July 24, 2006


Hortense is right - his first choice was a midtown location that was roundly criticized for its astronomical rent.
posted by vronsky at 2:44 PM on July 24, 2006


There'll be a few clumps of brush, and that brush will be fucking frightened, cuz the Decider don't mess around when it comes to clearing brush.
posted by bardic at 2:45 PM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Anyway, gentrification sucks, I guess.

Why?


It bleeds the middle class out of big cities, for one thing.
posted by blucevalo at 2:46 PM on July 24, 2006


delmoi's probabally referring to the CATO Institute's stance on rent stabilization; from their view, development's hampered in the process, as building owners are discouraged from offering diverse improvements to the property market and city coffers alike. Of course, rent control's always demonized whenever the Jeffrey Chodorows and Donald Trumps want their share for the Big Apple, but I digress.
posted by Smart Dalek at 2:50 PM on July 24, 2006


my grandmother's gout is Santorum's fault

Well, she shouldn't have eaten so much!
posted by equalpants at 2:56 PM on July 24, 2006


Gentrification sucks because it destroys vibrant communities. They might have their problems - severe problems in some cases, but gentrification amounts to a community exodus.

"If they think it's Clinton's fault, they be crazy."

Who are "they" and why the fuck are you talking like that?
posted by nthdegx at 3:07 PM on July 24, 2006


I hate it when mt property value rise and my crime rate drops. That FUCKER, Clinton. He did this deliberately!

Luckily Mr. Bush has a couple more years to reverse this awful trend.

In the mean time might I suggest a wonderful Bush Administration program for these poor black folk displaced by this despicable liberal economic conspiracy.

This program has a multi-billion dollar budget and a current operation in a very exciting warm climate with very cheap housing. Oh. AND Mr. Bush offers benefits, too!
posted by tkchrist at 3:07 PM on July 24, 2006


"...as I dislike the guy when you start saying "my grandmother's gout is Santorum's fault" you've lost a lot of momentum."

You just have to rephrase it:

"My grandmother has bad gout but, she can't afford proper treatment thanks to the Medicare cut-backs that Sentor Santorum pushed through the Senate."

See how easy that was?
posted by MikeMc at 3:10 PM on July 24, 2006


True tkchrist. New Orleans has never been cheaper.
posted by bardic at 3:11 PM on July 24, 2006


True tkchrist. New Orleans has never been cheaper.


LOL. I was thinking of the OTHER Bush Program... in the neighborhood with the very aggressive welcome wagon.

Gentrification is term often overused by people who have little clue what they are talking about, or who are being complete hypocrites. Or who's resentments are misplaced and being manipulated.

I think that may apply here.

I had a couple of good friends who moved back to Seattle from NY. They sold a former rent controlled apartment in Tribeca that went condo conversion for over 300% more than they paid. 300%. In less than ten years.

And yet here, in Seattle, they complain about the "gentrification" of their favorite arty little hang-outs.
posted by tkchrist at 3:33 PM on July 24, 2006


"New York is where i'd rather stay,
I get allergic smelling hay,
I just adore a penthouse view,
Darling, I love you but give me Amsterdam Ave.!"

Same in DC, Whitey moving back to the cit-tay...

In the vernacular, "oh, well..."
posted by aiq at 3:42 PM on July 24, 2006


Why do I always think of snooty people in tight clothes on horses when people say gentrification?

Poor Harlem, it wanted to stay dirty, poor and infected with crime, darn that Bill Clinton, darn him straight to heck. Maybe he can buy a house for the 40 people that protested him and then we can all be friends again?
posted by fenriq at 3:48 PM on July 24, 2006


This is freakin' ridiculous. There are much better targets for disaffection.

A product or symptom of the glaring lack of quality black leadership? Worth considering, anyway...
posted by rollbiz at 4:03 PM on July 24, 2006


In terms of less crime and more prosperity, Harlem was doing just fine before Bill Clinton dedided to grace it with his presence.

I mean, I'm happy he did. It was a positive gesture. But a gesture all the same. Now that he's shilling for Lieberman, I don't give much of a fuck what he does. If he can get some votes for other Dems in November and 2008 between sessions of getting his knob polished, fine, he has a (minor) purpose.
posted by bardic at 4:07 PM on July 24, 2006


Harlem was totally gentrifying well before Clinton moved up there--Gilliard spells it out, and it has much to do with Giuliani, and street vendors. And Clinton has not caused non-street-level businesses and offices to move up there, because for the most part they haven't.
posted by amberglow at 4:50 PM on July 24, 2006


Well, I thought it was just him following the advice from the ridiculous-right, telling him to go back where he came from.
posted by Kickstart70 at 5:43 PM on July 24, 2006


Where to start? I live and work in Harlem (in the 28th Precinct) and have for the past four and a half years. When I first moved onto 116th Street I was one of the only white girls in the neighborhood. I have been called names, have had bottles thrown at me, and my boyfriend was robbed and assaulted about a month ago in front of my building. You would think that I would be the first one jumping on the "Yay for gentrification" bandwagon. However, I also work as a social worker on 116th Street. I work for an agency that houses chronically homeless, mentally ill substance using adults in a Housing First Model. I moved to 116th to be a part of the community that I work with and to actually become a part of the larger community. I have a rent stabilized apartment, shop in the local grocery stores, pet stores, African coffee shops, bodegas, and fight for dryers at the local laundromat. As new, upwardly-mobile young professionals (both black and white) move into destabilized, overly priced condos and apartments they have their groceries delivered, laundry picked up and shipped twenty blocks south, and purchase whatever they need in Midtown when they leave their offices. They slowly suffocate the hard working community that exists here. My neighbors are cab drivers, MTA workers, maintenance staff, and employees of other service professions and are quickly being forced out of the neighborhood. The problem becomes then, where do they go? Where do these people, whose livelihoods depend on this community, go?

I don't really believe that residents here blame Clinton for moving into the neighborhood and starting the process of gentrification. Many of them don't even know what gentrification is and I think that was the idea behind the protest, to educate people about what is happening in their community. As activists you have to have some focal point and I agree that Clinton, who is actually rarely in that building from what I hear, is probably not the best target.

You can't blame any one person, policy, or community for gentrification. I'm starting to think that it falls into the realm of death and taxes.
posted by jennababy at 5:50 PM on July 24, 2006 [2 favorites]


The reason people get their clothes cleaned in midtown is that they work 14 hour days, and the cleaners in the neighborhood work shorter hours than do the yuppies who live there. And they have their groceries delivered because, barring Fairway, neighborhood grocery stores are filthy.

The cab garages oughtn't be where real estate costs a billion dollars a square foot, and the people who work for the MTA can board the train in many places. Seriously-- are you feeling sorry for a $60,000/year janitor?

I don't think blame needs to be laid for gentrification. It's good that those whose labor is most valuable have shorter commutes, and are able to to turn the once neglected, tattered, and filth-infested neighborhoods into liveable communities.

Of course, it's not just rent control that prevents development in Manhattan, it's the convoluted property tax scheme and the bluenoses in the 60s on the UES who fight tooth and nail to keep developers from building places where people can actually live so that they may continue to habituate their precious three-story abodes on quaint and charming streets. The same bluenoses, of course, proudly call themselves environmentalists.
posted by Kwantsar at 6:07 PM on July 24, 2006


Gentrification sucks because it destroys vibrant communities. They might have their problems - severe problems in some cases, but gentrification amounts to a community exodus.

Hmm. So by "vibrant," then, you mean completely static, where none of the kids leave and nobody else moves in? And by "community exodus" you mean "mass influx of people?" Is this like "Peacekeeper missiles," then?

That having been said, if anyone would like to contribute to the IshmaelGraves Anti-Gentrification Fund so that I can move to the rich, white, yuppie part of town instead of having to drive out the poor, oppressed residents of the squalid neighborhoods in which I tend to find myself, please feel free. Small non-sequentially-numbered bills preferred.
posted by IshmaelGraves at 6:10 PM on July 24, 2006


I wouldn't mind Clinton in my neighborhood, but I wouldn't want my sister to marry him.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 6:25 PM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


It's good that those whose labor is most valuable have shorter commutes, and are able to to turn the once neglected, tattered, and filth-infested neighborhoods into liveable communities.

That is a very judgmental statement. I'm assuming that you mean that those working class families who have public service jobs aren't as valuable as someone who makes money for someone who already has too much to begin with? And as for the neighborhoods being neglected, tattered, and fifth-infested... my neighborhood is none of the above and I have found it livable for over four years now, even without a health food store, wine shop and designer trinket shop full of needless crap. I don't know where you live but the laundromat stays open 24/7 on 116th and many of the neighborhood groceries are as spotless as those on 85th and Lexington. Also, most of the cab drivers in my neighborhood park their cabs on the street and not in garages as they too work 14-18 hour days. The idea that some people are more worthy of living in a certain neighborhood than others is ridiculous.

As for the janitors, I do not feel sorry for them, but realistically, $60,000 for more than a single person is not enough to live on in Manhattan.
posted by jennababy at 7:19 PM on July 24, 2006


Seriously-- are you feeling sorry for a $60,000/year janitor?

Yeah, I am. Because while that may seem like an impressive salary out in East Jabip somewhere, here in the city, $60,000 isn't what it used to be. With that kind of money, you're doing OK. You're keeping your head above water.

You are not thriving and prospering. Especially if you have kids.
posted by jason's_planet at 8:53 PM on July 24, 2006


That is a very judgmental statement. I'm assuming that you mean that those working class families who have public service jobs aren't as valuable as someone who makes money for someone who already has too much to begin with?

If they were valuable, or more correctly valued, they would make as much as the folks who can afford to live there. I live in SF (I even survived the dot com years and work in health care) so I understand the frustration of overvalued real estate. As Americans we no longer value anything but net worth. It's never enough...
posted by whatever at 9:06 PM on July 24, 2006


$60,000 isn't what it used to be. With that kind of money, you're doing OK. You're keeping your head above water.

But the article says a one-bedroom apartment in Harlem rents for $1,400 per month. So you're saying that with, less taxes, $2,500 left over for food and transportation, you're just surviving?
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:52 PM on July 24, 2006


True tkchrist. New Orleans has never been cheaper.

As one who spent the past week looking for apartments in New Orleans, let me tell you, that's pretty much way off. Homes in certain areas (say, Lakeview, once decidedly more upscale or at least upper middle class) that were flooded are pretty cheap, compared to the past. Homes in areas that didn't get flooded are by and large more expensive, and rental prices are way up due to scarcity and demand.
posted by raysmj at 10:04 PM on July 24, 2006


Oh, and gentrification had been under way in many poor neighborhoods in that city well before Katrina.
posted by raysmj at 10:34 PM on July 24, 2006


Clinton's fault? I remember the 70's and 80's in NYC. Back then, it was usually the queers that did the gentrification. They'd move in and decorate! I mean, paint, and cleaning, and god knows what other depravity. That's what happened to the west 70's, back when.

Manhattan simply ain't what it used to be. Maybe that's a shame, I'm not sure. I know I missed my old haunts, last time I was in town. I remember when people thought I was nuts to walk east of Lexington, on the LES. But you see, there was this black door (next to the ambulance place) on 10th Street...Wonderful place. Anyone else remember that?
posted by Goofyy at 3:03 AM on July 25, 2006


That is a very judgmental statement. I'm assuming that you mean that those working class families who have public service jobs aren't as valuable as someone who makes money for someone who already has too much to begin with? ... The idea that some people are more worthy of living in a certain neighborhood than others is ridiculous.

If person X can work for $100 per hour, and person Y can work for $10 per hour, the labor of person X is more valuable. Even those loathsome Goldman Sachs bankers pay eleven percent of their income to keep the leviathan afloat, and support agencies like the one which drafts your paycheck. Really, does it serve the interests of the community to idle its most productive labor on a long commute?

And your notion that some people who work in midtown make "money for someone who already has too much to begin with" is especially laughable. The self-employed pay 17% to the state and city, and you probably don't believe that the state has too much money. And the ones who work for Merrill Lynch, Pfizer, etc are making money for shareholders, many of whom happen to be pensioners. Its true that they get their clothes cleaned in midtown, but are you really ready to claim that a cleaner in midtown deserves business less than does a cleaner in the neighborhood that you prefer?

Why you feel a need to make this a moral issue is beyond me.
posted by Kwantsar at 4:43 AM on July 25, 2006


Kwantsar: What's this nebulous thing you call "community?" Give an operational definition. Who's a member, who's not? Does tenure matter? Do long-term social networks and ties to a neighborhood matter?
posted by raysmj at 5:23 AM on July 25, 2006


I don't really know where you're going with this, raysmj, but you can use "the sum of the people in Manhattan," if it pleases you, or feel free to take the easiest definition you can come up with that proves the point you are preparing to make.

I am not going to claim that gentrification is an absolute good, but it's pretty close. I'm not willing to accept that long-term social networks "matter," in the sense that they should be a factor in the formation of public policy. And you'll have a hard time convincing me that any program designed to stop gentrification will do more good than harm.
posted by Kwantsar at 5:56 AM on July 25, 2006


I am not going to claim that gentrification is an absolute good, but it's pretty close.

What it is is an overcorrection. In the 70's and 80's a lot of working and middle-class neighborhoods in the 5 boroughs became miserable to live in due to a lot of factors and there was a mass exodus of those who could afford it. The lack of a significant middle class divided the city into rich and poor, starkly. Then some young people looking for cheaper housing moved into decaying neighborhoods and business opened to cater to them, and developers saw what was going on and capitalized on it and drove up rents. and on and on. It's great that neighborhoods get revitalized and that new people move to the city, but I don't think it should be at the cost of destroying the old. Also, in purely practical terms, all those yuppies and hipsters need somebody to roll their burritos, froth their lattes and park their cars, and those people have to live somewhere.

(also, for all it's use as shorthand for 'urban poverty and decay,' Harlem has always been a mixed bag economically and ethnically, there are many middle-class and even wealthy enclaves. And my Irish grandfather lived in the area as a child, and my Italian uncle was raised on Pleasant Avenue. It's had it's problems, sure, but there are areas that fit the ghetto steretype much more than Harlem)
posted by jonmc at 8:13 AM on July 25, 2006 [1 favorite]


That's a long winded way of saying, that while I don't want the squalor and crime
of the 70's (that many romanticize) NYC to return, I don't want the whole city to become the Upper East Side either.
posted by jonmc at 8:15 AM on July 25, 2006


Well put, jon. I just find it frustrating that in many cases, the people most knocked for gentrification *are* middle class, because of course the middle class is the leading wave into poorer neighborhoods--we get priced out and then do it to someone else. And no one wins.
posted by dame at 10:02 AM on July 25, 2006


realtors do
posted by matteo at 10:07 AM on July 25, 2006


Realtors are only slightly less evil than lawyers. But I could be mistaken. Come to think of it, I've known a couple lawyers who were great people. Can't think of a realtor I liked especially.
posted by Goofyy at 11:11 AM on July 25, 2006


The only true form of rent stabilization is crime.
posted by any major dude at 11:25 AM on July 25, 2006


NYC was really bad in the 1970's. Hell, they even kidnapped the president.
posted by bardic at 11:40 AM on July 25, 2006


Realtors are only slightly less evil than lawyers. But I could be mistaken. Come to think of it, I've known a couple lawyers who were great people. Can't think of a realtor I liked especially.


People say the dumbist shit.

They are always "evil"... till you need one.
posted by tkchrist at 2:13 PM on July 25, 2006


Kwantsar: I was trying to get you to think, since you obviously weren't. And I see elsewhere you're a self-admitted ideologue, so maybe it's not worth the trouble. I don't see gentrification as an absolute good, but don't see it as the reverse either. You do need social networks from a policy standpoint, you need it for a well-running democractic society over the long term. You need dynamism but people who know something about the history of the neighborhoods. And as jonmc notes, you need people to do the service jobs and whatnot, and they have to live somewhere. (New Orleans was brought up earlier. Want to know how "valuable" those jobs are? Want to go to a grocery store that's open past 9 or 10?)

What you seemed to be arguing is that we bring back the aristocracy on a sort of moral philosophical grounds (please don't tell me you're being pragmatic), which is, to be blunt about it, completely obnoxious.
posted by raysmj at 6:11 PM on July 25, 2006


Well thanks, your marminess, for encouraging me to think; after all, I'm not a wizened ole perfesser, but I'm glad you could stoop so low as to open my eyes. I've been parroting Schumpeter and Hazlitt for so long, I just forgot how to think!

It's nice that neither of us see gentrification as an absolute good, but if we agree on this point, and I obviously don't think, perhaps you're wrong. Or maybe I just lucked into it! Stopped clock, and all that.

In response to your less-irritating points, of course social networks are good for society. But it's not like there exists a practically finite number of networks and configurations. People move. People form new networks. And sure, knowing something about neighborhood history is nice, but is it really vital? People manage to live in newly-developed communities, which have no discernible history beyond cornstalks, and they manage to function (and find meaning in their own lives) just fine. While this may dishearten you, there's a substantial amount of revealed preference that you have to explain away to buttress your argument.

As far as the service workers go, there exists a reliable market mechanism that will entice them to commute to these jobs. When you let it work, of course, the labor shortage results in higher wages, resulting in higher grocery prices, thereby placing downward pressure on housing costs in said same neighborhood.

That bit about higher earners having shorter commutes is textbook Ricardo. Pragmatic and utilitarian, to boot.

As far as my views on "aristocracy" are concerned, I think that the price mechanism does a fine job of rationing high-utility housing. I do not think, however, that owners of land (improvements notwithstanding) are entitled to its appreciation. Thus, I take camp with about .00001% of the world's population. We assemble at ideologue parties, where we eschew thought.
posted by Kwantsar at 7:08 PM on July 25, 2006


kwantsar: Where has this "higher wages for service workers pushing rents down" thing actually happened? Examples, please. And you'd said the reason for having shorter commutes was that these people paid more taxes. What's pragmatic about that? They also can be said to gain more from certain city and state services, regardless of where they live. (I'm not a New Yorker, or even keep up too much with what goes on there, but don't the brokerage houses receive heavy incentives and subsidies just to stick around? Would that money be better spent in helping to develop home-grown industries and businesses, or into education or what have you?)

People manage to live in newly-developed communities, which have no discernible history beyond cornstalks, and they manage to function (and find meaning in their own lives) just fine.

But how do these communities manage to sustain themselves over the long haul? By starting over again with entirely new population repeatedly? A good case against that can be found in The Lost City (not that I think its author is dead-on in his ideas).
posted by raysmj at 7:27 PM on July 25, 2006


I didn't say anything about anyone's "internal life," by the way, which is something harder to get at as what "community" is in the first place. And you have no more idea about anyone's internal life, whatever that may be, than I do. So if I was irritating, I apologize. Meanwhile, you filled your quota of irksomeness with that one line.
posted by raysmj at 7:32 PM on July 25, 2006


Where has this "higher wages for service workers pushing rents down" thing actually happened? Examples, please.

That's sort of a disingenuous summation-- as is asking for examples of a place where the labor and housing markets are allowed to naturally function. You're asking me to provide an example of the market working in a place where it has been utterly crippled. I could turn the tables by asking you where high housing costs have resulted in unskilled labor shortages, and you'd be just as stuck.

I didn't say anything about anyone's "internal life," by the way, which is something harder to get at as what "community" is in the first place.

Did I?

you'd said the reason for having shorter commutes was that these people paid more taxes. What's pragmatic about that?

The reason it's pragmatic is that we all gain when those who contribute the most spend the most time working. If trade is mutually beneficial, this happens without taxes. But trade needn't even be beneficial if the transaction is taxed (as a trade of money for labor is in the US). Take two people: a used-car salesman and a research scientist. They'll each spend 12 hours between commuting and working. You can get 10 hours out of one of them, and 11 out of the other. Who do you want working the extra hour? Which generates more trade? Which generates more taxes?

They also can be said to gain more from certain city and state services, regardless of where they live.

I am not making an argument for or against progressive taxation here.

(I'm not a New Yorker, or even keep up too much with what goes on there, but don't the brokerage houses receive heavy incentives and subsidies just to stick around? Would that money be better spent in helping to develop home-grown industries and businesses, or into education or what have you?)

Heh. New York would be totally and irrevocably fucked if Wall Street moved to Stamford. Take it with a grain of salt, if you must, but I find it hard to believe that the costs outweigh the benefits. As far as the home-grown industries argument goes, I didn't think that serious academics even bothered with that one anymore. (Grain of salt, again) I don't say that to be an ass, I'm serious--the infant-industry argument is theoretically weak, and the empirical pragmatists are forced to admit that for the last 50 years in the US such programs have amounted to little more than corporate welfare.
posted by Kwantsar at 8:07 PM on July 25, 2006


And what industries came out of New York without any incentives whatsoever? NYC has been, at least in the past, an incredibly entrepreneurial city. I'm not suggesting that this can only come about from government subsides (far from it--I've written on my own site about the ridiculousness of "cool cities" initiatives taken by various states and cities in the wake of research by Richard Florida), but you at least do well by clearing a path for them, making business as easy to conduct as possible while lessening the potential for negative impacts on other citizens (addressing the problem of externalities), and respecting their rights. There is also a growing body of research which suggests that political communities that have strong inter-sectoral cooperation increase their chances of thriving (or having a larger cross-section of the political community thrive) more than others--and subsidies have nothing to do with that.

In any case, the specific line you used was not internal life, but "meaning in their own lives." I didn't say anything about any nebulous meaning. Who cares? I can't get into anyone's head or soul or whatever you want to call it. What is "meaning?"
posted by raysmj at 8:29 PM on July 25, 2006


Housing costs have created labor shortages in Hawaii, Marin County CA, Chicago, etc., etc.
posted by raysmj at 8:45 PM on July 25, 2006


No, they didn't, any more than there's a gas shortage right now. Employers were just mad that labor cost more than they were willing to pay. I rent, because I can't afford to buy, but there surely isn't a housing shortage here.
posted by Kwantsar at 8:52 PM on July 25, 2006


Also, I agree with you about attracting industries (and also that Florida is a nincompoop), but shouldn't we just remove barriers (while legislating to cover at least some externalities) for all industries?
posted by Kwantsar at 8:54 PM on July 25, 2006


Yeah, I think subsidies are a waste of time and money (if you didn't guess already), excepted in limited and dire circumstances. I think government can help make life easier for businesses in many circumstances, however, and we might disagree there. But that's a whole 'nother ball of wax--as was my nearly posting about the affect of tax subsidies on housing prices (the mortgage interest deduction, etc.).
posted by raysmj at 9:11 PM on July 25, 2006


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