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Ol' Diz was out walking his dog a few nights ago when he noticed something odd.  For the first time since moving into an apartment in Center City, Philadelphia, there were contractors out putting poison down the ratholes in the park.  Chatting with the contractors and some neighbors, we thought it was great that finally the rat playground the park had become was going to be taken care of for the good of the community.

Then, the tents started going up.

And the police came to force the homeless out of the park.

Follow me past the squiggly for something that often gets cheered by city planners, but is just another way that the rich screw the rest of us.

Turns out, what was going on in the park was the preparations for the annual black tie dinner/dance held, ostensibly, to raise money for Rittenhouse Park's upkeep.  Can't have the guests disturbed by rats or homeless people, now can we?

Here's a photo from last year's event:

Once upon a time in the not too distant past, the park was not in great shape, but due to Eddie Rendell using tax abatements to attract developers, it is now a tony location.  It's not uncommon to see Lamborghinis (especially a really ugly orange one), Bentleys or other cars that are totally stupid for city living parked in the valet parking only areas.  There's the Cadillac SUV limo that delivers patrons to the Rouge or Parc restaurants. New high-rise condos and apartments are going up, going for hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.  

And ol' Diz has to move.  The rent in our apartment which we have been living in for six years has gone from ridiculous to exorbitant.  We're moving to a middle and working class neighborhood in South Philly, despite this being much further from our workplaces.  We're purchasing and would have loved to stay within walking distance of our places of employment, but we are priced out.

Meanwhile, walking around last night was surreal--here you had all these fat cats in tuxes, with their significant others all dolled up in gowns strolling around the park while ol' Diz is there with his jeans, sandals, Card's ballcap and t-shirt making sure he picks up his dog's prodigious poops (my pooch is 95 pounds).  I would have been willing to chat with some of the folks, but they never made eye contact with me.  Suppose I wasn't worth it.    

But this is a story playing itself out in many cities in the US and elsewhere.  

We know the story--the rich are getting richer:

And they have mostly been moving to gated communities in the exurbs:

The gatedness has been a way of keeping the riffraff like you and me out.  Remember that scene from Inside Job when it was described how Asshat Extraordinaire Dick Fuld had a special elevator to whisk him to the top floor of the Lehman Bros building?  It's like that--erect barriers of contact so that you don't have to interact with anyone not worth your precious time or who will sully your day with their petty presence.  It's placing a physical barrier between "us" and "them", demarcating in a very real way the class differences.

Zygmunt Bauman, emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Warsaw, calls this dynamic mixophobia in his work Liquid Times: Living in a Time of Uncertainty:

‘Mixophobia’ is a highly predictable and widespread reaction to the mind-boggling, spine-chilling and nerve-breaking variety of human types and lifestyles that meet and rub elbows and shoulders in streets of contemporary cities not only in the officially proclaimed (and for that reason avoided) ‘rough districts’ or ‘mean streets’, but in their ‘ordinary’ (read: unprotected by ‘interdictory spaces’) living areas.  As the polyvocality and cultural variegation of the urban environment of the globalization era sets in, likely to intensify rather than be mitigated in the course of time, the tensions from the vexing/confusing/irritating unfamiliarity of the setting will probably go on prompting segregationist urges…Mixophobia manifests itself in the drive towards islands of similarity and sameness amidst a sea of variety and difference.
However, something else is going on in urban areas today.  Simon Kuper of the Financial Times had a great item this past  week, entitled Priced Out of Paris.  He notes that the phenomenon of mixophobia is spreading to the cities--where many are becoming ghettos of the uber rich, while the middle and working class people (like ol' Diz) get forced to the perimeters:
There is a wider story here. The great global cities – notably New York, London, Singapore, Hong Kong and Paris – are unprecedentedly desirable. At last week’s fascinating New Cities Summit in São Paulo, the architect Daniel Libeskind said: “We live in a time of renaissance … cities are coming back to life, after a long neglect.” Edward Luce chronicled the urban revival in last Saturday’s FT Magazine. However, there’s an iron law of 21st-century life: when something is desirable, the “one per cent” grabs it. The great cities are becoming elite citadels. This is terrifying for everyone else...

Global cities are turning into vast gated communities where the one per cent reproduces itself. Elite members don’t live there for their jobs. They work virtually anyway. Rather, global cities are where they network with each other, and put their kids through their country’s best schools. The elite talks about its cities in ostensibly innocent language, says Sassen: “a good education for my child,” “my neighbourhood and its shops”. But the truth is exclusion.

And that's a great shame, for cities are supposed to be places where people of all walks of life should be able to come together for a shared purpose.  As Pope John Paul II said in 2002:
The ethos of a city should be marked by one characteristic above others: solidarity. Every one of you faces serious social and economic problems which will not be solved unless a new style of human solidarity is created. Institutions and social organizations at different levels, as well as the State, must share in promoting a general movement of solidarity between all sectors of the population, with special attention to the weak and marginalized. This is not just a matter of convenience. It is a necessity of the moral order, to which all people need to be educated, and to which those with influence of one kind or another must be committed as a matter of conscience.

The goal of solidarity must be the advancement of a more human world for all – a world in which every individual will be able to participate in a positive and fruitful way, and in which the wealth of some will no longer be an obstacle to the development of others, but a help.

So, next time you are walking around the downtown areas of your city, from Philly to NYC to San Fran, think about who lives and works there and who has to commute in to provide the services (often at minimum wage) so that the rich and powerful can enjoy the urban lifestyle.  

And ask where the solidarity is.


1:24 PM PT: I should add the racial dynamic:  I did not observe a single party-goer last night who was a person of color.  The only people who were black or Hispanic were the servers and workers.  This morning, it was mostly black guys cleaning up the park.  That in a city with a majority-minority population (non-Hispanic whites make up 37% of the city).  'Course, Philly is one of the most segregated cities in the country.

Originally posted to dizzydean on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:16 AM PDT.

Also republished by Income Inequality Kos, Invisible People, In Support of Labor and Unions, Anti-Capitalist Chat, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Going out to walk my Berner. Back later. n/t (11+ / 0-)

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:17:25 AM PDT

  •  maybe "pLutocracy?" lol. (11+ / 0-)

    but yeah I knew what you were talking about before I went over the fleur du kos.

    my first live-in g/f worked at what used to be Houlihans, directly across 19th from the park.  I remember this kinda thing (if not this exact thing) from that time.  mid 90s.

    This comment is dedicated to my mellow Adept2U and his Uncle Marcus

    by mallyroyal on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:31:55 AM PDT

    •  Hah! I even cut-and-pasted the word from (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mallyroyal, bumbi, radarlady

      the FT!  

      To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

      by dizzydean on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:50:04 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Went to several (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dizzydean, mallyroyal, Lily O Lady

      work parties at Houihan's back in the late 80's.  Lived up on Mt. Vernon at 19th st.  I rember they used to do the annual party back then but it never looked like your picture.  More like a glorified picnic back then.

    •  I didn't realize this was happening in Philly too (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But god is it ever getting bad in San Francisco.

      Rents have doubled in the past three to four years. Literally. And houses and condos are back to selling for cash for more than the asking price, in an hour or two. I know someone who lives in a semi-luxury high-rise, and he says the following:

      I live on a floor with twelve condos. They're all owned by someone, but until a month or so ago, I was the only person who lived on that floor full-time. There is now one person who has moved to San Francisco for most of the year. There's another couple who live here six months out of the year. The other nine condos are owned by people who spend less than two weeks a year in them, and don't rent them out. I've never met most of them, but I know one is owned by a couple who live in Palo Alto. They use it when they come up to San Francisco for their Christmas shopping, one or two weekends a year, but it otherwise sits vacant. The rest are just variations on that theme.
      A large chunk of San Francisco is coming to resemble that. Basically, it has cache to have a 'place in San Francisco', even if you never actually live there. And so we have sky-high rents and next to zero 'vacancy', while in some areas more than half of the housing goes unused. Because it is, as always, much more important that the wealthy have bragging rights than it is for the rest of us to be able to survive.

      If it weren't for rent control (and, honestly, I don't expect that to least another decade... California will outlaw it at the behest of the wealthy, if San Francisco dosn't) I wouldn't be able to live in the city any more. And I'm well into the top 10% of earners in the country.

  •  Finally, an astute observation of (19+ / 0-)

    the obvious.

    And, frankly, we don't have enough of that at all. The whole notion of the public sphere, the common good, anything that has to do with the majority rather than the elite minority is not so much under attack as it is being systematically and perniciously squeezed into the background.

    You've captured that well. Thanks.

    None are so hopelessly enslaved as those who falsely believe they are free. -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    by achronon on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:32:19 AM PDT

    •  Thanks. The sad part is that the city government (10+ / 0-)

      actually encourages this, as they want the tax revenues.  In doing so, they'll up the security presence in these areas, because they are "more valuable" while the areas that have the highest crime (typically poor and minority) are lucky to get a drive through by a squad car.

      To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

      by dizzydean on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:58:09 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  How can it be countered? (14+ / 0-)

        These elites play that game that this is the only way that positive things can happen.  They're lying or they're ignorant.

        Existing neighborhoods, with the same residents they currently have, can improve.  This is contrary to the developers' credo that targets current residents for expulsion in order to make neighborhoods "safe" and "acceptable" for "development."

        The difference is that improvement that doesn't displace people must come from the bottom up, not from the big shots down.

        How does it happen?  Example and organization.

        I live in a multi-cultural neighborhood plagued by a high level of crime.  If you want more info, check out a couple of recent diaries.  We're at the edge of some development that would be happy to displace us all in the next 5-10 years.

        I moved here 2 years ago, and I'm starting small and modest.  Our home is an abandoned house that hadn't been inhabited for 10+ years.  We bought it and the other little house on the lot for less than $5,000.  Since then, we've been engaged in a family project on a pay-as-you-go basis with us doing all of the labor from plumbing to wiring to erecting sheet rock.

        Last summer--our first summer--we fenced off a little section and created some raised beds for a garden.  It was successful and we gave away tomatoes and roasted sunflower seeds to all our neighbors.

        This year, we dug up the front yard and planted garden there.  So far, the much beleaguered woman across the street has asked me to help her plant tomatoes and the reputed drug dealer down the street has, after talking to me about our garden, planted some garden in his front yard.  When I'm outside working in this front yard garden, all who pass speak and compliment and/or ask questions.  Down the street, I see other efforts at growing things.

        My goal is to interest people to the point where they're frustrated at their own lack of space and sunshine.  We have some very nice vacant lots that would work well as community gardens that could expand the space current landowning residents have AND make some space available to the mostly disabled residents of the high rise at the end of our street.  On top  of that, it's an excellent opportunity to organize ourselves to do something positive for our community, i.e. mutual aid based on true democracy.

        My hope is that organizing for simple things can lead to trust among us who live here along with awareness about the obstacles and enemies we face in making our lives better through our own efforts and leadership.

        I'm a believer that self-organization will lead to a better long term result than reliance on some hero politician to come and rescue us all.  That doesn't mean that I don't look for local politicians who can serve as allies in this effort.  In fact, I've already found one.  But ultimately, we must rely on ourselves and our ability to work together.

    •  What should also be mentioned... (14+ / 0-) that once the rich have pushed everyone else out of the hearts of those "world class cities", what's left will be dead and lifeless.

      They're not going to be walking around those neighborhoods on a daily basis and supporting local merchants.  Most of the time, they're too busy flitting between multiple houses to do that -- and when they are at home, they'll probably be sending the servants out to do the shopping...and not necessarily in the local neighborhood.

      And when life in those cities fizzles out, the rich will be wondering what happened.

      (I've seen some of this in play in Rome, where wealthy people have bought vacation homes in certain neighborhoods, and the shops started closing.  The problem is that those homes sit empty 80 to 90% of the time, and that's absolutely destructive to a neighborhood.)

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:48:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There's already a growth in the grocery (5+ / 0-)

        delivery business....I guess it's just too fucking irritating to mix with the lowlifes at the grocery stores, so why not just order things up on line and have them delivered?

        To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

        by dizzydean on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:50:20 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  See Belgravia London for a current example. (4+ / 0-)

        Manhattan for a near future one.

        "Don't be defeatist, dear. It's very middle class." - Violet Crawley

        by nightsweat on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:11:28 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Knightsbridge too. (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          dizzydean, JVolvo, Dave925

          There's a pretty good article about that in Vanity Fair here.
          One of the best observations:

          The really curious aspect of One Hyde Park can be appreciated only at night. Walk past the complex then and you notice nearly every window is dark. As John Arlidge wrote in The Sunday Times, “It’s dark. Not just a bit dark—darker, say, than the surrounding buildings—but black dark. Only the odd light is on. . . . Seems like nobody’s home.”

          That’s not because the apartments haven’t sold. London land-registry records say that 76 had been by January 2013 for a total of $2.7 billion—but, of these, only 12 were registered in the names of warm-blooded humans, including Christian Candy, in a sixth-floor penthouse. The remaining 64 are held in the names of unfamiliar corporations: three based in London; one, called One Unique L.L.C., in California; and one, Smooth E Co., in Thailand. The other 59—with such names as Giant Bloom International Limited, Rose of Sharon 7 Limited, and Stag Holdings Limited—belong to corporations registered in well-known offshore tax havens, such as the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Liechtenstein, and the Isle of Man.

          From this we can conclude at least two things with certainty about the tenants of One Hyde Park: they are extremely wealthy, and most of them don’t want you to know who they are and how they got their money (emphasis mine).

          You..ought to be out raising hell. This is the fighting age. Put on your fighting clothes. -Mother Jones

          by northsylvania on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:21:59 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  See downtown LA (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Or better yet read Mike Davis.

      •  Heard the same about London (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        northsylvania, dizzydean, Dave925

        Many "trendy" neighborhoods where the houses are all empty most of the time. In the meantime there's a shortage of affordable housing for people with actual jobs.

        OTOH, anyone ever consider... all we'd have to do with those gated communities is wait for everyone to get home at night. Then we swipe the gate key, run concertina wire along the wall, shut off the power, and set a rotating guard.

        Problem solved.

        Not sure, but I think that's why walled cities went out of favor in the first place.

        Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

        by Pariah Dog on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:27:48 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I lived briefly in Philly (6+ / 0-)

    in the early 1980s, and Rittenhouse Square has always been a bastion of the rich. Never saw so many fur coats in one place -- and in Philly, you don't even need just doesn't get all that cold.

    Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

    by Youffraita on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:51:40 AM PDT

    •  You should see it now! I've been here for (10+ / 0-)

      6 years and in the interim they've put in about 6 or 7 new condo buildings--some with one "unit" per floor.  The gentrification has spread south from the park all the way down to Washington Avenue, with boho types moving into Point Breeze and Grey's Ferry.  And guess what happens to housing prices?

      What's sad is that many African-American churches are in the area, but few blacks actually live close-by anymore.  I park my car in front of the Marian Anderson Community Center in a neighborhood that is almost all white now.

      To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

      by dizzydean on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 09:55:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, yes. I do know. (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        devis1, northsylvania, dizzydean

        I saw the gentrification of Hell's Kitchen on Manhattan's west side (yes, West Side Story west side) up close and personal as it was happening. You can't afford to live there anymore, the way I was able to. My former apartment is probably in the four-figure range for a tiny one-bedroom with a "kitchen" that was really the hallway on the way to the tiny bathroom.

        The most I paid was $800-something a month.

        It probably went to two grand a month b/c of that bedroom, and the location, after I moved out.

        But, oh, when I first moved to that neighborhood, in 1983? It was a tiny bit scary, but not TOO scary, and it had all these wonderful ethnic places, like the local Italian bakery that had been there forever and multiple butcher shops (the best of which remains, at the southeast corner of 9th Ave. and 38th St., a couple of fish markets, at least one spice market, and...I'm not sure what else b/c I haven't been back in a couple of years).

        But many of the shops that made the neighborhood so wonderful for foodies and so, well, delicious just in terms of diversity, have been priced out and either folded or moved elsewhere.

        And the city is the poorer for it.

        Irony takes a worse beating from Republicans than Wile E. Coyote does from Acme. --Tara the Antisocial Social Worker

        by Youffraita on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:38:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  My internet connection is acting stupid (0+ / 0-)

    so I'll check back in later today.

    To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

    by dizzydean on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 10:27:03 AM PDT

  •  the world would be a better place w/out the rich (5+ / 0-)

    Taxes, guillotines, Age of Aquarius ... whatever gets rid of rich people once and for all will be the best thing that ever happens to humanity.

  •  Interesting post (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dizzydean, Puddytat

    Today I have this image of gerrymandered districts being like gated communities. Your post really fits with this.

    The problem with suburbia is people don't associate with each other like one does in inner cities. Which has been a draw for many to live in a city. I wonder how this will end up changing the suburbs or will the people change? Will people try harder to recreate the cultural assets and community there? I haven't really seen it happen in the past.

  •  I bought a house (8+ / 0-)

    in a working-class, racially integrated neighborhood in Kansas City.  Was priced out of the west side.

    And you know what?  I've never been happier.  For the first time in many years I know my neighbors and like them all, and there's a stick-togetherness in the community that I haven't found elsewhere, especially in the tony San Francisco neighborhood I used to live in.

    Of course the plutocrats have won, but there's still a lot to be said for creating your own space away from their greedy, shameless in-your-face lifestyle of consumption.  I believe in karma and someday their ponzi schemes will collapse.

    you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows

    by Dem Beans on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:19:38 PM PDT

    •  I agree...I will miss being able to walk to work (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dem Beans, Oaktown Girl, Puddytat, JVolvo

      though.  Seems a shame that only the wealthy can live that close to their workplaces...

      To be free and just depends on us. Victor Hugo.

      by dizzydean on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:28:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  For the record though (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dizzydean, JVolvo

        The same kind of thing happened in the eighties during the Raygun-esque Greed Is Good Age.

        I watched working class sections of Cleveland become trendy bastions for overpaid underworked yuppies. It was nice that they refurbished the aging houses, but they pushed the working people out of their longstanding neighborhoods and into crappy public housing high-rises.

        It didn't last though. With these people it never does because they're obsessed with always running toward the newest and most expensive thing.

        Alternatively, see my comment above.

        Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

        by Pariah Dog on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:36:51 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  After this big dinner event is over (4+ / 0-)

    they'll be putting the rats back into the park.

    The thing about quotes on the internet is you cannot confirm their validity. ~Abraham Lincoln

    by raboof on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 01:38:00 PM PDT

  •  tip rec & repub! (4+ / 0-)

    Great diary!

    (added labor tag, hope that's OK)

    God spare me the Heart to fight them... I'll fight the Pirates forever. -Mother Jones

    by JayRaye on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 02:21:37 PM PDT

  •  In my town everyone says hi (6+ / 0-)

    We are fifteen blocks of an old mining town. Surrounding us is exurbs. They now make the rules because they are in the town, they hate us, our houses need paint, we have junk cars, trailers, gardens, clothes lines, RVs, half made projects. They changed the roads so no one drives through old town. Fine by me.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 05:13:30 PM PDT

    •  Same here (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dizzydean, Dave925

      I'm in rural southern Ohio and we got "discovered" by city people about ten years ago.

      Pain. In. The. Ass.

      First thing they do is write a letter to the paper bemoaning the trailers and dirt roads and "unkempt" properties and encouraging everyone to "take pride in OUR communities."

      OUR???? Got a turd in your pocket, boy?

      Now we have the gas fracking boom going on and rents in this area are nearing the stratosphere. All those gas workers make big buckos don'tcha know!

      I personally know three people who've been looking for an affordable place for months and can't find anything under $1000 per + first, last and security. Average rent for a three bedroom house around here used to be $400 - sometimes furnished!

      Meddle not in the affairs of dragons... for thou art crunchy and good with ketchup.

      by Pariah Dog on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 06:47:27 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  "Rats or homeless people." (5+ / 0-)

    What's the difference?  Neither of them knows the first thing about the proper attire for yachting.

    "She's terse - I can be terse. Once, in flight school, I was laconic." -Wash

    by Troubadour on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 06:04:02 PM PDT

  •  Pretty much nailed it! I've been there (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dizzydean, Puddytat, awhitestl, Blicero

    many times but have never found Philly to be "the city of brotherly love." Give me NYC any day. But, dizzy nailed it. It's not just that the One Percenter mofos want to win. They want to win big, crushing all opponents with a boot to their face as they lie in the gutter. "Stay down, scumbag. And, if you even Think about getting back up we'll roast you like the pig you are." These Ayn Randers want it all while making sure the 99% don't get so much as an orange peel. Meanwhile... most Americans watch 'Dancing With The Stars' as these thieves carry out their furniture from underneath them. "hun, did you see that man in the suit carrying out our end table?" "wait 'til the commercial, hun, and I'll make some popcorn... "

    See you sonsabitches at NN13! Look for our Banner and stop by and say hello!

    by winkk on Fri Jun 21, 2013 at 07:33:47 PM PDT

  •  Yep! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dizzydean, Chitown Kev, Dave925

    You know, the same things could be said about Chicago. The gentrification, the "white flight", the lack of education and opportunity, and the increasingly difficult lives of those on the margins, all because Chicago's city hall is playing the rich like a freaking violin. Rahm Emanuel (loathe the man; I'd love to spit on him) only seems to care about the Gold Coast, the South Loop and Lincoln Park, which are the toniest areas in my city. He doesn't give a sh*t about what happens south of 35th street or west of say, Division Street. He attempts to close 49 schools, most of which, conveniently are in poor and ethnic neighborhoods, further destabilizing them, and yet wants to pour city monies that could go into keeping those schools open into building a f*cking basketball arena for one of the city's colleges at McCormick Place!

    This dynamic, happening in both Philly and Chicago (and in many other cities, as other commenters have pointed out) is one of the biggest examples of the widening gap between rich and poor, and how our politicians are willing to play to the rich at the expense of everyone else. I say f*ck that. I'm mad as Hell and I've had enough. I don't want to see our greatest cities go to being specifically the domains of the rich, only to watch them die because the ultra-rich consume them from the inside out, without replenishing them.

    -6.75, -5.51..Silence is better than bullsh*t.

    by alliehope on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 07:00:52 AM PDT

  •  Great diary. My own belief is that the (4+ / 0-)

    Plutocracy pretty much has "won" and remain essentially unchallengeable on a global scale.

    They've completed their merger with the state security apparatus, wholly own the world's governments and will enjoy their pleasure domes for as long as they can hold off the catastrophic climate change they know is coming but which they have no interest in preventing.

  •  This has been going on in NYC for over..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    dizzydean, Dave925

    two decades.   There use to be many affordable neighborhoods and now everything is so I moved to NJ and commute to work.

    The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes. Aristotle

    by progresso on Sat Jun 22, 2013 at 12:51:19 PM PDT

  •  Nature will counter it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    More specifically, climate change has a solution for the excesses of the rich.  

    There will come a day (could be pretty soon, looking at the extrapolations of when the Arctic Ice Cap melts) when the droughts and floods of today are memories of a milder climate.  Countries will ban the export of staple food items, like Russia did with wheat a couple years ago.  When food prices take another upward jump, it will set in motion the collapse of our global trade based economy.   Sending corn to China in exchange for some cheap plastic trinkets or cotton to Bangladesh to be made into towels and shipped back will no longer make sense. It will make more sense to hoard the food, save it in case next year's harvest is as abysmal as this year's.

    When climate change really starts playing havoc with agriculture, you are going to want to be living in a rural, food-exporting area, not some walled estate in a pricey downtown or an 'exclusive' beachfront resort (exclusive in quotes, because it will not exclude the rising oceans).  People that are hungry (1) hoard the food they do have and ration it our carefully and (2) will steal it if they see it being packed up for export (for example, attacks on grain shipments to England during the Irish Potato Famine).  

    The U.S. has a mixed outlook in this scenario; it is a big agricultural exporter, so we have built-in food security.  But you can bet that rich "owners" will want to collect a profit by exporting their property, leaving the poor "takers" to do just exactly that -- take it.  I suspect that when those days arrive, the phrase "to each according to his needs" will gain new found respect.

    Another factor to consider is that the US agricultural surplus is produced in no small part due to the import of large quantities of energy.  If energy imports stall out, quantity of food produced may drop in tandem.  At that time the price of an orange Lamborghini will drop in relation to a reliable diesel tractor with a cultipacker and a no-till planting hitch.

    How many potatoes and cabbages are grown in gated communities?

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