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Thread: The logic of income segregation

  1. #1

    The logic of income segregation

    I hear countless complaints about the income segregation of cities, ranging from the New Urbanists' declaring income diversity as a goal to the general complaint against "white flight" to the suburbs. That wealthier folks prefer to be next to each other is obvious, but what is not being asked is why they came to prefer this. Certainly there are cultural factors at work, that wealthy folks have more in common with one another and therefore attract each other. This factor however does not explain mass flight of the wealthy to the isolated suburbs, leaving behind their previous perfectly good neighborhoods.

    The answer is institutional. An egalitarian democracy, where everyone without requirements may exercise a vote, is always a tool for the redistribution of wealth from a group of haves to a group of have nots. Since the haves are always a smaller number than the have nots, the haves can never exercise electoral significance. The redistribution may not be immediately evident. It does not necessarily take the form of direct monetary transfers from one group to the other. It can simply take the form of disproportionate spending in favor of the have nots funded by disproportionate taxing of the haves. Public schools are one such obvious form of redistribution.

    The best thing for the haves to do in order to protect themselves is to isolate themselves in their own electoral enclaves and segregate out the low-wealth masses using regulations such as minimum lot sizes and house sizes, outlawing retail-apartment buildings, and so on. The electorate is therefore limited to the upper end of the income curve, and although there are still wealth redistributions between the extreme haves and the moderate haves, this redistribution is much milder than before.

    In order to end this practice and bring about social peace and economic efficiency, it is necessary that the governance process be anti-egalitarian, that one's electoral power be based on private property. It could be done either through a system of exchangeable vote-shares, such as in a business corporation, or the number of votes one person exercises could be equivalent to the amount paid in taxes, such as in a condominium. This system would eliminate all incentives to conduct wealth redistribution and thus make the coexistence of the wealthy and the rest possible once again.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Jaws:

    1. Why do you even bother? 99% of posters on this forum will think you a fascist for even thinking such thoughts. No one is going to change their mind and usher in a plutarchy.

    2. I think that there is more than a little truth in what you say, hower distasteful it may be from certain viewpoints.

    3. As a matter of historical interest, I think it's no accident that in architectural, planning and economic development terms the golden age of cities was during the turn of the 19th century when there was enough democratic representation to give the little guys a voice but enough respect of position/deference to allow the big boys to really run the show. Of coruse, the elss fortuante may not have seen it the same way, eh?

    4. Just out of personal interest; if I undersand correctly, you believe that a better system of government would be an oligarchy? A hereditary monarchy with some checks and balances?
    Life and death of great pattern languages

  3. #3
    Quote Originally posted by Luca View post
    Jaws:

    1. Why do you even bother? 99% of posters on this forum will think you a fascist for even thinking such thoughts. No one is going to change their mind and usher in a plutarchy.
    City planning has suffered a century of institutional chaos. I'm offering the explanation why no one here can do their job properly. They may choose to reject what I'm saying as unpalatable, but they can't go on blaming developers or greedy homeowners for wrecking everything. Plus the young generation has not set in its ways yet and can still be influenced.
    3. As a matter of historical interest, I think it's no accident that in architectural, planning and economic development terms the golden age of cities was during the turn of the 19th century when there was enough democratic representation to give the little guys a voice but enough respect of position/deference to allow the big boys to really run the show. Of coruse, the elss fortuante may not have seen it the same way, eh?
    It depends what side of the Atlantic you are dealing with. Because American cities have been communist from the beggining of the republic, they have always suffered from institutional chaos. New York during the 19th century didn't work any better than it does today. If you want a somewhat dramatized account of the period, I recommend Martin Scorcese's "Gangs of New York".

    European cities didn't fully go communist until the overthrow of the Habsburgs and Hohenzollerns by the United States.
    4. Just out of personal interest; if I undersand correctly, you believe that a better system of government would be an oligarchy? A hereditary monarchy with some checks and balances?
    The only thing wrong with monarchy is that it is a monopoly. The only check and balance necessary is to abolish the monopoly. When dealing with cities there is no monopoly possible, therefore it makes no sense to speak of oligarchy any more than to say that your house is an oligarchy.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    For me, the car explains the greatest part of modern income segregation. Prior to cars the poor and wealthy lived in far greater proximity than is the case today. The poor could observe the example set by the wealthy, and thereby had a schema for what constitutes civilized behavior. But cars and expressways have in certain ways provoked a return to the fortified medieval city. Those who can't afford a car, have to bar windows, and lock doors etc, to stay safe. So the pattern is reversed. Rather than being protected from marauders on the outside, the well-to-do and middle class lived dispersed, being protected from the poor who are isolated in concentrated pockets of poverty lacking in transportation.

    While the affluent used thick walls and guards to protect them in the past, today the cover of distance made possible by rapid, cheap fossil-fuelled transportation plays at least as great a role in their security.

    I'm not saying the pre-auto city was a utopia. I am saying that the auto has led to greater concentrations of poverty which has in turn led to greater levels of depravity than in the past.
    Quote Originally posted by jaws
    In order to end this practice and bring about social peace and economic efficiency, it is necessary that the governance process be anti-egalitarian, that one's electoral power be based on private property.
    You seem to be implying that a voting system based on private property would eliminate this tendency toward income segregation. In a sense, we already have what you're talking about. Wealth buys influence, which ensures - through the two party system, that both names on the ballot will be in the sway of their wealthy donors. America is only a de jure democracy - It is a de facto plutocracy.

    Aside from cars, the main reason we didn't have so much income segregation in the 19th century was because of slavery. Slaveowners held a disproportionate share of electoral power, and the poor lived beside the wealthy, because the wealthy owned the poor. The very wealthy did begin to suburbanize themselves out of the urban grime following the civil war. But it was the car that allowed anyone who could read and write to rely on fossil fuels as a substitute for learning to live beside those who are different from themselves.

    Employing a system of voting representation based on private property - as you describe, wouldn't change a thing in terms of the current tendency for people to isolate themselves or be isolated (in the case of the poor), along class lines.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

  5. #5
    The was less income segregation bcause welathy people needed their servents nearby. Without cars, they had to be within walking distance.

    IMO we have a system that seems to be transfering a lot of wealth from working people to the rich. Who needs to change our voting structure?

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    I don't think that wealthy enclaves developed as a political strategy to pool votes. Electoral advantages may have been the effect of such patterns of settlement, but not premeditated as such.

    Social factors such as a desire to live in proximity to people like oneself, and the desire to limit contact with the huddled masses, drove much of the exodus from the cities, as well as the widespread use of cars, and economic incentives to leave the inner city: FHA loans, redlining, and later, higher taxes in cities with dwindling populations and expensive infrastructure to maintain. Also there was the allure of the new and unspoiled development, closer to nature, and away from the dirt and noise of the city.

    Many books have been written on the dynamics of suburbanization, and it is multifaceted. To reduce it to electoral strategy is silly. Furthermore, to make sense, you would have to show that affluent areas actually vote in a certain way. Do affluent districts vote in a way that supports your ideas?

    Finally, I am appalled that you think only property owners should get the vote. That means only one or two of my social circle could have a say in what happens to their neighborhoods, city, and country. Not to mention the millions of other people, workers whose labor enriches their employers. . . you know the drill.

    Besides, I thought you didn't believe in voting. Something about robbing and killing your neighbor. . .

  7. #7
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    An important piece of this discussion is the fragmented goverment structure in many U.S. cities. There is a huge difference between Boston and Charlotte when it comes to income segregation.

    In Boston, the wealthy not only fled the inner-city, but they were permitted through a fragmented metropolitan government to forgo shouldering any of the finanical burden of inner-city physical and social infrastructure. The city now has some pockets of extreme wealth at the center, but the majority of the upper-middle and upper classes still inhabit their own incorporated enclaves at the fringe of the region.

    In Charlotte, the state's liberal annexation laws and county school systems have encouraged a shared financial burden among almost all residents of the metropolitan area regardless of income or neighborhood.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian
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    Lord, where does one begin? Should one even attempt to begin?

    It is tempting to look back at the past at a simpler and easier time, a "golden" age as Luca likes to portray it. But some serious corrections to the vision should be offered and I might as well do it.

    True, there was less physical separation between the rich and poor in 19th century and turn of the century American and European cities. But we are only talking about living a few blocks apart. The social separation was very real and provided a distinct boundary between the socio and economic classes that was as real as the physical barriers of today's interstates and gated communities. A major transformation of society over the past hundred years was the breakdown of the class system in both America and Europe, a hundred years the rich man and the poor man may have been separated by only a few blocks but the gulf between the two was so vast, even vaster than anything comprehensible in today's society. These two men did not go to the same schools, the same clubs, work in the same places, and one was very likely a servant in the other's household. Hell, the distinction between the classes was so great that even in Baltimore, a provincial American city, a grand hotel was built around 1900 and it offered a ladies tea room, arguably a public space, that was *only* open to ladies whose families were listed in the social register. The concept of a business doing the same thing today would be so unthinkable that it blew my mind when I first read about this tearoom. And let's not even get into the phenomenal segregation of poor african americans and the quite legal restrictions placed on deeds preventing the sale of a residential property to a black, or even a Jew, as was commonplace in many affluent residential neighborhoods in American before WWII. Hell, even in today's cities one can often find enormous social and political separations between adjoining neighborhoods in today's American cities. A case point is Baltimore and Philadelphia, where a mere block or two can separate a district of households making 200-300K a year from one where the average household struggles to break 25K a year, and it is extraordinarily rare for the inhabitants of the two areas to ever intermix. The economic, social, and *cultural* distinctions are simply too great.

    And all this talk about the "communistic" 19th century cities being a better place.

    *Rolls eyes.*

    Baron Haussmann didn't bulldoze most of Paris for the betterment of the poor. He did so to create a pretty and pleasant city primarily for the rich and the middle classes, and also to create an environment that would specifically make it difficult for the laboring classes to ever gather and uprise and barricade parts of the city (as was frequently done amidst the old mediaeval Parisian streets). Did Napoleon III build that fantastically great opera house as a communal gathering ground, or a place for the la de dahs of society to swan around in ball gowns and fancy jewels? When the new opera house was built about a decade ago, it was pointedly built in a working class part of Paris.

    All the great city beautiful accomplishments of the 19th century and early 20th century: the grand boulevards, the squares, the handsome residential neighborhoods and monuments and office buildings: all were literally built by the rich for the pleasure and enjoyment of the rich and middle classes. I daresay the poor and the working poor had very little say in these urban improvements, and often strenuously opposed many of them...as it meant the wholesale destruction of poor and working class neighborhoods. Same thing occurred in the 1950s and 1960s. Were those rich neighborhoods being bulldozed for the urban freeways and office parks? I don't think so. True, some of the areas were outright slums and blighted neighborhoods, but many, including the infamous north end of Boston, were decidedly not.

    Fact is you'll find that the poor and working class have a strong distrust of urban planners. A professor in one of my studios during graduate school cautioned the students from telling the neighborhood residents that we were planning students. "Tell them you are architects, but whatever you do don't tell them you are planners."

    Today's society isn't perfect, by any means, but there has never been such an attempt to be as inclusive in the planning and political process as we see today. I'll reiterate again, it is not perfect but when compared to the past it is far better than anything that occurred in cities and countries throughout most of Western history. Today's poorer citizens may be half disenfranchised, but a century ago they were 99% disenfranchised.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    In order to end this practice and bring about social peace and economic efficiency, it is necessary that the governance process be anti-egalitarian, that one's electoral power be based on private property. It could be done either through a system of exchangeable vote-shares, such as in a business corporation, or the number of votes one person exercises could be equivalent to the amount paid in taxes, such as in a condominium. This system would eliminate all incentives to conduct wealth redistribution and thus make the coexistence of the wealthy and the rest possible once again.
    This is ridiculous. You get x number of votes based on the amount of taxes? So lets aleienate the common man even further by giving those that pay the most taxes the most votes. Then, when the top 1% of income earners have all of the power, they can further protect their wealth by pasisng any old law they want, regardless of how it impacts those that do not have as much. Sounds like a great society. Oh wait, I forgot, this is already happening in America, so how would this improve things?

  10. #10
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    I was listening to the radio this weekend and heard someone state that the US likes to think of itself as a "classless society." My reaction, which I think relates to this discussion, is that this is most certainly not the case.

    The US is largely built upon the story of class mobility, IMO. To some extent, the poor don't mind the rich (though they may resent them), because they hope to become one someday. Obviously this is oversimplifying and I think that the discrepency between rich and poor has reached absurd proportions, but the "American Dream" is not built so much on us all being equal, but largely on the "rags to riches" narrative. To what extent this matches reality is another discussion, for I feel there are many mechanisms designed to prevent this type of mobilty.

    So, in my mind, one key economic objective should be to pioneer new areas of economic opportunity and to provide avenues for entrpreneurs at various levels to enter the market. I think should be (and has at various times been) the responsibility of government - to fund the initial development of new technologies and then make that technology available to upstarts. This helps ensure new people get into the game.

    The petroleaum-centered energy economy is an example of how this approach is NOT working now. The government has been reluctant to fund the development of innovative energy technologies to be farmed out to entrepreneurs. Instead, the oil industry has infiltrated political decision-making to such an extent that we have actually slowed this development and in other cases made sure the technology flows only into the hands of the existing oil-based corporations so that they can corner the market on new developments.

    Creating such improved avenues for class movement is what I think we should be promoting. Closing the gap between rich and poor is a good objective (and the poor should still make enough to live humanely), but I don't think the existence of wealthier and poorer is in itself a problem or something people want to eliminate.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  11. #11
    Quote Originally posted by dobopoq View post
    For me, the car explains the greatest part of modern income segregation. Prior to cars the poor and wealthy lived in far greater proximity than is the case today.
    Don't me wrong, the car made increased income segregation physically possible, but it did not make anyone desire income segregation. It was already there waiting to come out.

    We can't uninvent the car. We have to deal with the world as it is now.

  12. #12
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    Don't me wrong, the car made increased income segregation physically possible, but it did not make anyone desire income segregation. It was already there waiting to come out.

    We can't uninvent the car. We have to deal with the world as it is now.
    True. I don't advocate a Rousseau-like romanticization of the primitive as the survivalist wing of peakniks seem to. But I am of the opinion that the Fordian notion of a "car in every garage" will come to be seen as an extravagance of the high oil age.

    In the 1910's, mass production through the magic of the assembly line was all that was necessary to make car ownership a reality for the masses. But that was in a time when oil discoverys gushed like niagara falls out of Texas. Now, the proverbial "glass" of oil is decidedly half-empty, and as the EROEI to get that second half falls closer to 1:1, millions of the American middle class will be forced by geological reality, to abondon their sclerotic subdivisions with the corresponding autocentric lifestyle. In 40 years, profligate fossil fuel use will become only the prerogative of the rich. The middle class will have to get used to smaller living spaces in more urban conditions, but also without the high cost of or the mandatory need for a car. This will herald a new stage of class and racial integration. Under such conditions, the positive social momentum of the early 60's may regain traction as the emigrants of suburban white flight return to a non-fossil fuel dependent way of life in urban areas; A way of life in places that had been bled dry to build our futureless gold-plated freeways.

    If Americans resist the need for these cultural changes, they will find themselves unable to service their debt, and the heels of global finance will send the roofs of their "pocket manors*" crashing down upon them.

    (*phrase courtesy of jordanb)
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

  13. #13
    Quote Originally posted by Future Planning Diva View post
    Many books have been written on the dynamics of suburbanization, and it is multifaceted. To reduce it to electoral strategy is silly. Furthermore, to make sense, you would have to show that affluent areas actually vote in a certain way. Do affluent districts vote in a way that supports your ideas?
    We can't know why people vote the way they do. It doesn't matter if a politician says that he will do such and such thing. Everyone knows he is lying. People will vote for him based on his past performance or other heuristics. We can only observe the outcome of the process, and the outcome of the process is that the regulations that exclude the poor from wealthy areas do in fact exist. Using the logic of income segregation and the evidence of the existence of factors that promote this segregation, we can determine that the theory is true.
    Finally, I am appalled that you think only property owners should get the vote. That means only one or two of my social circle could have a say in what happens to their neighborhoods, city, and country. Not to mention the millions of other people, workers whose labor enriches their employers. . . you know the drill.
    I absolutely didn't make any claim to being in favor or against anything in this post. I simply pointed out, using logic, that the only way to stop and prevent segregation by income was to make voting a process founded on private property. If you wish segregation by income to continue, then by all means continue to be in favor of egalitarianism.
    Besides, I thought you didn't believe in voting. Something about robbing and killing your neighbor. . .
    That's when dealing with voting for a state. A city is not a state, it's an enterprise, just like Coca-Cola or Shell, and doesn't engage in murder and theft. Besides, in an electoral system founded on private property you can buy and sell votes, thus ensuring that all electors consent to the current leadership, not only the winning majority. It is therefore not aggressive.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian
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    If I understand you correctly, Jaws, you are claiming that policies that produce income segregation have been enacted in response to . . . the existance of wealthy enclaves, regardless of how they actually vote.

    It is this link in your theory that I am fuzzy on. Is the claim that policymakers create policy that they think will benefit the wealthy because the power of the wealthy comes not from voting, but from money and status? I can see how this connects to the geographic segregation of the wealthy (the exclusion of other groups), but I don't see how a property-based voting system would remedy this problem. Wouldn't the wealthy simply increase their dominance and wealth by explicitly controling the government, when now they simply hold greater sway? Or, put another way, how would depriving the poor, and even middle class of their votes improve their lot and the lot of the country?

    And under such a system, why would elected officials have the consent of everyone, not simply the majority of vote holders? Surely not all property-owning vote holders would agree with each other?

  15. #15
    Quote Originally posted by Future Planning Diva View post
    If I understand you correctly, Jaws, you are claiming that policies that produce income segregation have been enacted in response to . . . the existance of wealthy enclaves, regardless of how they actually vote.

    It is this link in your theory that I am fuzzy on. Is the claim that policymakers create policy that they think will benefit the wealthy because the power of the wealthy comes not from voting, but from money and status? I can see how this connects to the geographic segregation of the wealthy (the exclusion of other groups), but I don't see how a property-based voting system would remedy this problem. Wouldn't the wealthy simply increase their dominance and wealth by explicitly controling the government, when now they simply hold greater sway? Or, put another way, how would depriving the poor, and even middle class of their votes improve their lot and the lot of the country?
    First of all I'm not speaking of governments here, but cities. When the city is first incorporated the regulations are imposed in order to attract the exclusive clientele that is in search of segregation. The promise is that in this place they will be safe from redistribution. Later on the politicians in charge of the place have an incentive to preserve the system, because by definition the current elected politician is the one that most benefits from the established electoral system. Allowing in an electoral majority hostile to his party will only create competition for himself. (Interestingly this also works in reverse, in that politicians in poor cities whose electoral base is the poor have an incentive to wreck the city and drive away all the rich people.)

    An electoral system based on property fixes this because the presence of a large number of have-nots does not create competition for the wealthy-elected politician, and it does not create a threat of wealth redistribution against the wealthy.

    Note that this in no way deprives the poor and middle class of their vote since they have been previously completely excluded from this particular electoral zone. It increases the participation of the poor and middle class since they can now have a certain share of the vote proportional to how much they contribute in taxes. That is an increase over their previous share of none at all.
    And under such a system, why would elected officials have the consent of everyone, not simply the majority of vote holders? Surely not all property-owning vote holders would agree with each other?
    If conflict emerges over leadership, property-owners can do two things. They can sell their votes and renounce their participation in the system. They can also buy enough votes to ensure that the leadership is shifted towards their position. This ability for one side to buy out the other makes sure that whenever any conflict arises, the side that most values its ownership ends up deciding.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian
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    But wouldn't the desire of the wealthy to live only among their own still keep out the poor, even if there was no threat of income redistribution? In my observation, many affluent people don't wish to be reminded of their privilidge by seeing poor people around, plus they are afraid of people of color: associations of crime and simply a culture that is alien to them.

    The sad thing is, in my opinion, that so many people who aren't truly racist have unexamined biases that guide their behavior even more than economic incentives that may be logical, if distasteful to folks like me.

    I don't think you are terribly off-base in your framing of this issue, Jaws, though it looks at a specific kind of community. But, other objections to property-based voting aside (and there are many), I don't think it really would acheive income de-segregation.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally posted by Future Planning Diva View post
    But wouldn't the desire of the wealthy to live only among their own still keep out the poor, even if there was no threat of income redistribution? In my observation, many affluent people don't wish to be reminded of their privilidge by seeing poor people around, plus they are afraid of people of color: associations of crime and simply a culture that is alien to them.
    There are costs to excluding people from your neighborhoods. It happens the threat of income redistribution is greater than the costs in the current system, but not in a property system.
    I don't think you are terribly off-base in your framing of this issue, Jaws, though it looks at a specific kind of community. But, other objections to property-based voting aside (and there are many), I don't think it really would acheive income de-segregation.
    It's certainly impossible to achieve income de-segregation without it, therefore if that is your goal you can't avoid doing this.

  18. #18
    moderator in moderation Suburb Repairman's avatar
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    Just curious jaws, but have you read Forbidden Grounds by Epstein? It's kind of right up the alley of this thread and uses a lot of libertarian arguements that you are fond of.

    "Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."

    - Herman Göring at the Nuremburg trials (thoughts on democracy)

  19. #19
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jaws View post
    This factor however does not explain mass flight of the wealthy to the isolated suburbs, leaving behind their previous perfectly good neighborhoods.
    why even bother when your premise is incorrect.

    The "wealthy" corners of most US cities were built between 1870 and 1910. You can do the math and figure out the age of that housing stock when the exodus began in earnest in the late 50's. People weren't leaving "perfectly good neighborhoods" they were worn around the edges and had already been passed down to the upper-middle class. The rich in Philadelphia had already left the Victorian twins of West Philly for the mansions of the Main Line. The Nouveau Riche in their enormous victorian rowhomes in North Philly had been high-tailing it to Chestnut Hill, Whitemarsh, and the great tudors of Elkins Park.

    The market theory of housing states that the rich are looking for the next, best thing. That is to say, the biggest most hi-tech house on the "block". When they get bored of it they buy the newest and best and pass on the old to the next rung on the income ladder.

    It used to be that the wealthiest were closest to the river. Then they were the furthest from the factories. Then they were the furthest from everything. Now they're closest to the financial and cultural centers.

    The suburbs started as a refuge for the wealthy as soon as stagecoach routes got wooden rails. Originally it was just a weekend retreat, then the women and children spent the summers. Eventually it was all year round. Protecting women and children from the evils of the city were part and parcel of the Victorian era. There's a rather informative book on it called Bourgeois Utopias.

    Of course, there's a big difference today between bourgeoisie and middle-class. I'm middle-class. The guy who owns Papa John's is part of the bourgeoisie. Where he lives and the place my suburban counterparts live couldn't be more dissimilar.

    Poorer people have always been omni-present. They clean the house, wash the clothes, cook the meals, take care of the children. To the rich (the American equivalent of landed gentry), distance from the poor is only important as it relates to personal safety. They always have money for more security. Their societies, intsitutions, and houses are just as, if not more important. It's a different story with the Nouveau Riche because they have their prejudices that come from a long period of close proximity. Putting some distance between you and where you came from is understandable.

    On a personal note - We're the only white people on our block. Socio-economically we're the only middle-class people on the block. The shop owner across the street has way more money and access to capital than i do but he's also an immigrant, came from a Cambodian peasant family, and speaks broken english. His older son, as with most of my young cambodian neighbors went to public school. They learned to speak english by listening to their black peers in school. That's how they sound when they talk. Despite having inherited a strong family and work ethic they'll always have a strike against them because they talk like that. I think they're in the same position as many blue-collar whites (i used to have those neighbors "yeah, deese punks at da PPA don't cut me no slack. Tree parkin' tickets in a friggin' week.) Their kids will have the opportunity to be much better off because they understand what it takes to get there and they send their kids to better schools.

    The shop owner's younger son has always gone to private school and his english reflects it.

    My Vietnamese neighbors own half the neighborhood, they came here middle-class, not that they had anything in their pockets but they knew what they had to do to make it and they brought marketable skills with them. They sent their kids to private or catholic high schools and the best universities.

    My Mexican neighbors, at least those of documented status, are somewhere between the Cambodians and Vietnamese.

    I don't hold out much hope for my black neighbors. Most of the younger kids seem to think that there's a future in selling drugs. They're out screaming and yelling until 2 or 3 in the morning, that is until, business picks up and it quiets down. They fight amongst themselves constantly. Every argument or disagreement, no matter how petty, is conducted in the street where everyone else can see or hear. If it's really big it goes out to the corner (in front of my place) Some of them devolve into fistfights that go on for so long that they drift 2 blocks down the street.

    My immigrant neighbors and I watch in a mixed state of disgust and amusement.

    In the end it has nothing to do with being poor. This is a poor neighborhood but ghetto is ghetto and that's what made us think long and hard before moving here.
    In the end we felt that there were enough positive people in the neighborhood to outweigh the 7 or 8 households in the neighborhood that account for 90% of the trouble (the other 10% being caused by people passing through with half of those being somehow associated with the neighborhood troublemakers)
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Cars are not to blame for the division of income, materialistic stereotypes are. There has been always some way to get from point A to point B. From walking to horse and carriage. If you look at cities, you will often have similar housing styles (such as mansion districts) and the only other dwelling units were those of the servants. In many older cities you can almost see a digressing income range as you walk or bike from areas with larger homes away from the core of the cities.

    Grand Rapids Michigan for Example has some phenomenal old mansions in the Heritage Hill District, and as you walk out of the district away from downtown, you see a degradation of housing sizes and details. Some of the major streets on the other hand (where horse drawn streetcars were) had the massive housing styles, and the sizes would decrease as you walk away from the old stops. Oh and all these homes were pre-car.

    As for the voting thing, I think that you raise some interesting points and I agree that the voting system in this country is in need of a change. I don’t think that those who are incarcerated for any reason, on probation, or convicted of drug possession, drunk drinking, or any felony should not be permitted to vote until they have severed their time and are free and clear. I also don’t think that we should have an electoral college. Instead one vote is just that, one vote. As for the owning of physical property as a weighted vote system, is not a good idea. For one, you don’t have to be a US Citizen to own property in the United States. For another, the resources used by a person of a lower income from the government is far greater than those used by extremely wealthy people. Wealthier people are more likely to relay less on public services, yet they should have more so of a deciding vote?

    I think that people locate where they choose because of the opportunities that they seek and those that they can afford. If we want people to move back downtown, they give them a reason to move back downtown, which many cities are doing. I think that one of the major things that people are fearful of in mixed income neighborhoods is not how much their neighbors make, but how they keep their property and what their lifestyle is.

    Finally, I think that you are making incorrect yet commonly perceived stereotypes’ of wealthy people. Most of the wealthy people don’t live in a multi-billion dollar 12,000 acre estate, but in an older traditional neighborhood within a city or suburb. I strongly suggest that you read Dr. Thomas Stanley’s book, The "Millionaire Next Door "and"The Millionaire Mind".
    "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism." - George Washington

  21. #21
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    For another, the resources used by a person of a lower income from the government is far greater than those used by extremely wealthy people. Wealthier people are more likely to relay less on public services, yet they should have more so of a deciding vote?
    Without our infrastructure, public works, and commons (water, air, etc) wealthy people would have no way to make money. What good is a product if you have no way to get it to market.

    Furthermore, if i'm driving a Toyota Corolla 20,000 miles a year and the local plastic spoon maker has 10 big rigs loggin a combined 500,000 miles a year delivering his product who is using more public resources? Don't forget to include all of the externalities and the costs associated with cleaning up (or breathing in) after plastics manufacture and driving diesel trucks 500k miles a year.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by jresta View post
    Without our infrastructure, public works, and commons (water, air, etc) wealthy people would have no way to make money. What good is a product if you have no way to get it to market.

    Furthermore, if i'm driving a Toyota Corolla 20,000 miles a year and the local plastic spoon maker has 10 big rigs loggin a combined 500,000 miles a year delivering his product who is using more public resources? Don't forget to include all of the externalities and the costs associated with cleaning up (or breathing in) after plastics manufacture and driving diesel trucks 500k miles a year.
    You are comparing Apples to tires, they both may roll, but are completely different. A person as an individual will use far different quantity (and often service) than a business, corporation, school, or church. Furthermore, Schools, and Churches all use tremendous amounts of resources, yet don’t pay taxes.

    By your thinking, many places would become monolithic environments (personal families as well as corporations) mixed uses would not exist, and thus, people would have to become more reliant on cars.
    "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism." - George Washington

  23. #23
    Cyburbian iamme's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    By your thinking, many places would become monolithic environments (personal families as well as corporations) mixed uses would not exist, and thus, people would have to become more reliant on cars.
    I'm sorry, I know these comments were directed at someone else but I really lost your train of thought on this.

    Anyway, I worked for a few years in Mgmt at a trucking company and it was amusing to hear others complain about all the taxes and fees that had to be paid. All the while, saying nothing of all the wear and tear our trucks put on the roads, nevermind the fact they were routinely overweight, sometimes near double the allowable tonnage.

  24. #24
    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by iamme View post
    I'm sorry, I know these comments were directed at someone else but I really lost your train of thought on this.

    Anyway, I worked for a few years in Mgmt at a trucking company and it was amusing to hear others complain about all the taxes and fees that had to be paid. All the while, saying nothing of all the wear and tear our trucks put on the roads, nevermind the fact they were routinely overweight, sometimes near double the allowable tonnage.
    Having everything as the exact same use and/or income limits diversity in character. Encouraging diverse range of incomes and mixed use developments within an area allows for an equal balance of multiple uses, provides visual incentives that prevent monotony, and can often prevent property maintenance issues, crime, and social/domestic disturbances.

    By concentrating the wealthy you are leaving a concentration of non wealthy and impoverished. In a concentrated manor, it will often create conditions that promote code violations, increase risk of crime, and a deteriorating infrastructure resulting in ghetto conditions. However there is a dispersed income pattern, upper income people will help balance the neighborhood by not allowing crime of other issues to take exist.
    "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism." - George Washington

  25. #25
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis View post
    Cars are not to blame for the division of income, materialistic stereotypes are. There has been always some way to get from point A to point B. From walking to horse and carriage. If you look at cities, you will often have similar housing styles (such as mansion districts) and the only other dwelling units were those of the servants. In many older cities you can almost see a digressing income range as you walk or bike from areas with larger homes away from the core of the cities.[/URL].
    I think cars are certainly a major factor in the division of income, and you express that in the above paragraph. The fact that a mansion district had dwelling units for servants is by nature a mix of economic earners. How many zoning districts do you see that allow multiple dwelling units on one lot, especially large lots with mansions on them, as in your example? This type of zoning fosters a separation of income.

    The car comptelely changed how everyone behaved and that has been discussed thoroughly in many threads. The car made it so simple for people to live further away, to get away from the perceived threat of living in the city. There has always been a desire for the haves to get away from the have nots as Jaws mentioned at the beginning. Somethings made it easier to do and caused a greater divide in the mxing of residents and what they make.

    I just disagree with jaws solution.

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