Entries by Joel Kotkin

Demographic Undestiny

by Joel Kotkin — Demography becomes destiny, the old adage goes. But many of the most confidently promoted demographic predictions have turned out grossly exaggerated or even dead wrong. In many cases they tend to reflect more the aspirations of pundits and reporters than the actual on-the-ground realities.

The Growth Dilemma

by Joel Kotkin — Until just a few years ago, the need for economic growth to sustain societies was almost universally acknowledged. This was not just gospel on the free-market Right. Whatever its failings, twentieth century socialism was growth-oriented and espoused the notion, however poorly realized, that greater material progress was critical to expanding working-class wealth.

California Preening: Golden State on Path to High-Tech Feudalism

by Joel Kotkin — “We are the modern equivalent of the ancient city-states of Athens and Sparta….” declared then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007. In truth, the Golden State is becoming a semi-feudal kingdom, with the nation’s widest gap between middle and upper incomes—72 percent, compared with the U.S. average of 57 percent—and its highest poverty rate.

Mayors Won’t Rule the World

by Joel Kotkin — Earlier in this decade, cities—the bigger and denser the better—appeared as the planet’s geographic stars. According to the 2013 book If Mayors Ruled the World, everyone would be better off if state rule were replaced by rule from the most evolved urban areas.

The Good Life, Just Beyond

If forced to compare an ice cream flavor with suburbia, many would pick vanilla. Yet, as Amanda Kolson Hurley writes in her new book, Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City, this is just one of many “misinformed clichés” about these peripheral communities.

The End of Aspiration

by Joel Kotkin — Since the end of the Second World War, middle- and working-class people across the Western world have sought out—and, more often than not, achieved—their aspiration. These usually included a stable income, a home, a family, and the prospect of a comfortable retirement.