“America’s real problems are urban problems”

Daniel Greenfield argues that we must kill the cities, before they kill America.

The American city has failed. The coronavirus lockdowns and the Black Lives Matter race riots haven’t revealed a new reality, but the old truths under the glossy branding and hipster cafes. The underlying failure of the city isn’t social, it’s economic. Urban areas parted ways from the basis for their existence generations ago. Cities don’t exist because we need them, or because they’re more efficient ways of bringing workers and businesses together. They’re relics of economic empires that have collapsed leaving behind beautiful architecture and urban decay.

Major cities only productively employ a fraction of their residents, and most of their better jobs in both the private and public sectors are filled by workers who don’t live there. But the limited culture, medical, financial and tech industries that do thrive there produce a lot of money and even more influence. The difference between the perception of a failed city and a successful one is bringing in a few companies with a national brand and a global footprint. A city with a few major publishing firms, financial companies, or dot coms is seen as a success even if these narrow sectors have little to do with the majority of the millions of people who actually live there.

Urbanization has become a pyramid scheme taking over entire states, while hollowing out the more conservative rural areas, turning red states blue, and leaving everyone except those at the top of the pyramid scheme poorer with each generation.

America doesn’t need an expanding population. Urban political machines do. Nor do we need massive urban density that no longer occurs because of the density of opportunities, but just the opposite, the density of failure and the real estate bubbles that are fueled by urban crises.

There is no shortage of cheap labor in America. We don’t need more of it. Every major city is already choking on the unemployed cheap labor forces they have. And unless we have a massive manufacturing boom, the only employment opportunities for them are in the gig economy where they can deliver pad thai and give rides to environmental consultants.

The urban model hasn’t worked for America in sixty years. The pandemic has put it on the verge of collapse as the wealthy industries that made cities their base flee into virtual workspaces. It’s time to rethink and defund cities as the hubs of our economy and our nation.

Just another characteristically brilliant and well-written Greenfield piece, who I haven’t been looking in on nearly as often as I should of late.

3 thoughts on ““America’s real problems are urban problems”

  1. The plight of the cities was the first reason I immediately leapt to support Donald Trump when he announced for the presidency in 2015. I later did all my other homework to solidify my support, but in true urban renewal, he is a proven expert. Manhattan would still be Detroit if he had not envisioned it when no one else even considered it.

    President Trump has laid massive groundwork on renewing the cities, with opportunity zones, education and prison reform, etc., and I pray he and we will see some of that coming to fruition in his second term. It is a long-range project to be sure, but it has already begun.

  2. I read this a couple days ago. Excellent article. I’ve always known the cities were a model gone wrong, a model that no longer works, but I never put it together the way Greenfield does here.

    It’s a “must read” IMO.

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