A Few Crime Links, Easy To Post

Hey, I can’t complain.  My car got broken into a few years back (they took some valuables and made off with some empty luggage in the trunk).  A guy got shot not that far away, too, a year after that.  A single shot on a Sunday afternoon (a bit shocking, really), which was rumored to be part of a low-level drug-deal gone bad in a nearby neighborhood complex.  All in all, a pretty safe neighborhood, especially since then.

Via David Thompson-Chicago Murder Stats in one place.

Where not to go in San Francisco?

Say what you will about racial history in the U.S, and all the thorny problems that come with it.  Criminals, victims of crime, police officers and private citizens carry on.

Heather MacDonald: ‘The War On Cops’. C-Span interview with MacDonald on the book here.  She also points out that Compstat isn’t really going anywhere: ‘Prosecution Gets Smart:

Computational Criminology And Predictive Policing.

‘Computational criminology seeks to address criminological problems through the use of applied mathematics, computer science and criminology. Methods include algorithms, data mining, data structures and software development.’

Limited Resources + Potentially Imminent Risk/Harm + Repeat Offenders/Learned Skills + Violence + Lots Of Room For Error = Too Much Practical Upside To Not Adopt Additional Means Of Fighting Crime.

Via Marginal Revolution: ‘Neural Network Learns To Identify Criminals By Their Faces

Mildly To Marginally Related: American city-politics can be…pretty rough:

Why do people move to cities?  Well, there are a lot of reasons.

Walter Russell Mead has a series built upon the argument that the ‘blue’ progressive social model (building the Great Society) is defunct because America will have to adjust to new economic and global realities. In the [then] current post, he focuse[d] on the part of the model that creates and directs government agencies to try and alleviate inner-city poverty and its problems.

Making normative the more anarchic, transgressive and illegal, as some radical activist thought becomes mainstream

Repost-Hipster Romanticism? From The Atlantic Photo: ‘Adventures Of A Serial Trespasser’A Little More On 5pointz, Activism, And The Meaning Being Sought By Some

Milton Friedman Via Youtube: ‘Responsibility To The Poor’

Richard Epstein At Hoover-‘Progressively Bankrupt’

Full piece here.

‘It is quite clear that Illinois has passed the point of no return, even if Connecticut has not. But owing to the embedded political powers, little if anything can be done to salvage a situation that is careening toward disaster. Fortunately, the damage will be confined within the borders of the state unless the United States supplies an ill-advised bailout. That’s the beauty of our federalist system.’

-A link for Michael Lewis’ article about California politics, public pensions and Schwarzenegger’s time in office.

-Jim Powell At Forbes: ‘How Did Rich Connecticut Morph Into One Of America’s Worst Performing Economies?’

A Few Thoughts On Walter Russell Mead At The American Interest: “Why Blue Can’t Save The Inner Cities Part I”

David Harsanyi at Reason has more on the GM bailout.  Non-union employees pensions got raided and taxpayers foot the bill, so that Obama and the UAW can maintain power.

How did Detroit get here? Very comprehensive and easy to navigate.

Repost-Why Do People Move To Cities? From Falkenblog: ‘The Perennial Urban Allure’

Full post here.

‘So, why did most people want to move to the city? It seems like the same lure as today: freedom from a set life pattern and higher urban wages.’

Now if we focus on immigrants, economic opportunity and political stability tend to be the biggest draws.  Immigrants are usually risking a lot to get here, and they’re usually getting away from something:  dire poverty and political/religious oppression.  Life is hard, and people tend to move in migratory patterns, following the trail left by friends and family, and in some cases, free stuff, if you hand it out to them.

For Americans moving from small towns to big cities, the reasons tend to also include education and ambition, wanderlust and love:

People moving to the city have been illogical risk takers from the beginning. and the key is probably they like the sexual or mating opportunities inherent in large groups. Playing to that angle would bring in hipsters and gays. As to whether that’s the key to the health of cities or our nation, I doubt it, but it won’t hurt, especially because one of the best ways of making a city fun to go out in is that it’s safe for young women.’

Richard Florida suggested this trend, of hipster and gay migration, attached to a ‘knowledge’ class, is the way forward for American cities.  I suspect there is a pretty Left-Of-Center political philosophy under there with a lot of ‘class’ analysis and obsession with income inequality.

I’d been wondering about the cultural angle:  The hipsters were a third round of generally youthful rebellion (post-beat, post-hippie), fueled by a counter-culture ethos heavily invested in the Arts, individualism to the point of semi-nihilism, and harboring some collectivist tendencies.  There is a natural desire to break with the more traditional and religious models of organization typically found in small towns and rural areas, and also to follow the ‘Zeitgeist’ towards racial and ethnic diversity in meritocratic and multicultural harmony (coming with serious downsides).

The New York Times seems hyperbolically invested in this model (overlooking trade and economic opportunity as I believe Wall Street sets the pace, Park Slope and Williamsburg follow).  This is to say nothing of the political corruption for which big cities like New York and Chicago are typically known.  Big-city political machines were the way to a better life for most of those immigrant groups thrown into the pot, but they are also notoriously corrupt, full of clientalism and machine pols.

This leaves cities like Detroit, Cleveland, and Pittsburg still floating out there, unable to live off the fat of trade and finance, immigration and cheap labor, museums and tourism.  The lost industrial base, along with the lack of a strong knowledge-based economy leaves them with a brain-drain and difficult prospects.

Are energy, agriculture, low taxes and a strong private sector enough?  What about the cultural shifts going on?

Interesting reads:  Predictions are hard, especially about the future.

Virginia Postrel here:

As I have argued elsewhere, there are two competing models of successful American cities. One encourages a growing population, fosters a middle-class, family-centered lifestyle, and liberally permits new housing. It used to be the norm nationally, and it still predominates in the South and Southwest. The other favors long-term residents, attracts highly productive, work-driven people, focuses on aesthetic amenities, and makes it difficult to build. It prevails on the West Coast, in the Northeast and in picturesque cities such as Boulder, Colorado and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The first model spurs income convergence, the second spurs economic segregation. Both create cities that people find desirable to live in, but they attract different sorts of residents.’

Joel Kotkin. Omaha vs. San Francisco?:

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Walter Russell Mead takes a look at the blue model (the old progressive model) from the ground up in NYC to argue that it’s simply not working.  Check out his series at The American Interest.  Technology is changing things rapidly, and maybe, as Charles Murray points out, it’s skewing the field toward high IQ positions while simultaneously getting rid of industrial, managerial, clerical, labor intensive office jobs.  Even so,  we can’t cling to the past.  This is quite a progressive vision but one that embraces change boldly.  Repost-Via Youtube: Conversations With History – Walter Russell Mead

The Hoover Institution Via Youtube: Charles Murray On ‘Coming Apart’

Once you take apart the old structure, you have to criticize the meritocracy you’ve helped create: David Brooks At The NY Times: ‘Why Our Elites Stink’

Monday Quotation From Charles Kesler And A Few Thoughts on Conservatism

Related On This Site:  Cities should be magnets for creativity and culture? –From The Atlantic: Richard Florida On The Decline Of The Blue-Collar ManFrom Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’… some people don’t want you to have the economic freedom to live in the suburbs: From Foreign Policy: ‘Urban Legends, Why Suburbs, Not Cities, Are The Answer’

Joel Kotkin Via Youtube: ‘Illinois Is In A Competition’

From Joel Kotkin-‘The Truce That Could Save American Cities’ And A Few Thoughts

Full post here.

First, on a bit of a tangent:

Whole Foods CEO John Mackey is notably free-enterprise, having created a very successful business model and highly profitable chain of grocery stores.  Is he simply a particularly savvy businessman, having married 60’s idealism with free-market principles?  Is he a particularly savvy businessman whose secret is tapping into the deep impulse his employees have for meaning, group-membership, identity, and purpose which they find through organic produce, mild collectivism, and healthy living?

Mackey, Milton Friedman, and Cypress Semiconductors’ T.J. Rodgers have a debate about free-market principles here at Reason: ‘Rethinking the Social Responsibility Of Business.’   Worth a read as Rodgers and Mackey have a back and forth.

———————–

Culturally, we can see similar changes in our cities as well.  It’s easy to mock the Stuff-White-People Like-Crowd, the post-beat, post-hippie hipsters, environmentalists, postmoderns, true-believing multiculturalists, new urbanists and collectivists of all stripes.   I suspect this is partly why the NY Times reads the way it reads to me nowadays, and why Kotkin, writing from L.A. is so familiar with this dynamic.

Kotkin:

‘In the coming years count on the emergence of an increasingly dire conflict between urban boosters — who long for everything from improved schools to more bike lanes and better transit — and their traditional allies among the public-sector workforce. Essentially this will be not so much a war between conservatives and free-spending liberals, but what Walter Russell Mead has described as “blue on blue” conflict’

People tend to fight more over the less there is.  It will be worth watching to see if/how the blue-collar, public-sector Democratic base and gentry liberals keep it together.  It will also be interesting to see if the Obama youth vote stays together once the true costs of Obamacare are revealed.  As I’ve heard it described, it feels like 1968 now, with the old Civil Rights crowd in charge of our national politics for a few more years.

It will also be worth watching to see how rural, social, and religious conservatives interact with Washington, and how much steam the Tea Party has, and whether or not the libertarian/civil liberties push will interact with mainstream Republicanism.

Related On This Site: From Via Media: ‘Detroit’s Failure and the Blue Model’s Shame’

Why Do People Move To Cities? From Falkenblog: ‘The Perennial Urban Allure’

David Sloan Wilson At The Huffington Post: Atheism As a Stealth Religion

Jerry Pournelle’s chart with statism is on the -x-axis, and rationalism on the -y-.  Reason enthroned hasn’t exactly worked out so well.

Recently, British thinker Alain De Botton floated the idea of building an ‘atheist temple’ in the heart of London.  He recommends combing through religious practices for useful organizing principles in response to the New Atheists.  You can read more about it here, which includes a radio interview/podcast.

A postmodernist temple without the materialist core?  The Rothko chapel, in Houston, Texas.

Are there two kinds of cities forming?   Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘How The Elites Built America’s Economic Wall’

Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘How The Elites Built America’s Economic Wall’

Full piece here.

Postrel discusses the work of two Harvard economists and offers this:

‘As I have argued elsewhere, there are two competing models of successful American cities. One encourages a growing population, fosters a middle-class, family-centered lifestyle, and liberally permits new housing. It used to be the norm nationally, and it still predominates in the South and Southwest. The other favors long-term residents, attracts highly productive, work-driven people, focuses on aesthetic amenities, and makes it difficult to build. It prevails on the West Coast, in the Northeast and in picturesque cities such as Boulder, Colorado and Santa Fe, New Mexico. The first model spurs income convergence, the second spurs economic segregation. Both create cities that people find desirable to live in, but they attract different sorts of residents.’

On this analysis, income inequality (a lack of income convergence) is due in part to land use regulation in places like New York, California and Boulder.  Real estate has always been costlier in such places, but since 1980 there perhaps has been a set of legal changes that have made these places prohibitively expensive for a certain kind of mobile labor.  Walls are being built in and around these cities, due to the interests of many in them.  This steers a person, less well-educated (Postrel uses the example of a waiter from Ohio) from L.A. to say, Phoenix, where there is more money and more opportunity than Ohio, but who couldn’t afford California or New York.

This can close the door to a certain kind of “equality” that comes with less economic meddling and fewer land use regulations (and that used to be a possibility in California, if I recall from my early days): plumbers living next to lawyers next to insurance salesman next to retired Navy.  Kids’ schools, sports leagues and activities, generally safer neighborhoods and a more suburban focus can be created in such an economic environment.

In fact, I share some of Postrel’s populist sentiment at the irony that some who claim “income-equality” in the abstract, or seek “diversity” through often burdensome laws and regulations are in fact rich and successful enough to do so.  Perhaps many are just keeping up with the slower, deeper currents of public sentiment that are leading to a more liberal political base in these areas.  But, what made these people rich and successful?  Likely,  it wasn’t the willingness to sacrifice their own hard work, time and money to abstract entities without their consent…and if you make these laws and these politics the norm, then successful people will just learn how to game the new system.

Are you convinced?

Any thoughts and comments are welcome.

Addition: I should add that what makes, say New York and San Francisco, partially successful, are the museum-like quality world class or nearly world-class cities have:  the actual museums, tourist attractions and tourist dollars, the aesthetic appeal and the consistent operation of many different and important activities like immigration, trade, finance etc.   Manhattan isn’t a family draw, and never was (except for TGI Friday’s in Times Square, of course).

Related On This Site:  Cities should be magnets for creativity and culture? –From The Atlantic: Richard Florida On The Decline Of The Blue-Collar ManFrom Grist.Org Via The New Republic Via The A & L Daily: ‘Getting Past “Ruin Porn” In Detroit’… some people don’t want you to have the economic freedom to live in the suburbs: From Foreign Policy: ‘Urban Legends, Why Suburbs, Not Cities, Are The Answer’

You don’t get the progressive base without the restrictive laws…they are baby steps to paradise: Richard Epstein At Defining Ideas: ‘City Planners Run Amok’Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution Journal: ‘Three Cheers for Income Inequality’Richard Epstein At The Hoover Institution’s Defining Ideas: ‘California’s Kafkaesque Rent Control Laws’

Look out Omaha…people are coming your way?: …Joel Kotkin Via Youtube: ‘Illinois Is In A Competition’From The WSJ: ‘Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus’

What if you’re economy’s already depressed?  Don’t make a maze of laws and build stadiums and museums on the public dime…get new industry: From Reason: ‘Reason Saves Cleveland With Drew Carey’…Reason also suggests that if such creative/entrepenurial spirit gets off the ground, it will have to get around the public sector in Detroit.  From Reason Via Youtube: ‘Is Harrisburg’s Nightmare America’s Future?’

 
Is the same definition of ‘community’ connected with one that can stifle economic growth through political means?: Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?
 
Martha Nussbaum and Amartya Sen have plans for America and India to address some of the corruption there, and it may involve much more state involvement here in America by extension.  Can you see life, liberty and property from here?:  Amartya Sen In The New York Review Of Books: Capitalism Beyond The Crisis
 
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