May 13, 2007

The Virtues of Coastal Megalopolises

My new VDARE.com column is up a day early. Here's an excerpt:

Are the Americans who are being driven from the Coastal Megalopolises to the Interior Boomtowns better off because their old cities are filling up with immigrants who outbid them in the housing market—typically, because the foreigners don't mind living with an entire extended family under one roof?

Many conservatives these days have tried to make a virtue out of economic necessity. They insist that, say, cheap Las Vegas with its endless expanses of new suburbs, is a better place to live than, oh, expensive Boston, with its complicated coastline, parks, campuses, and restrictions on development in the name of preserving its ancient small towns.

For some people, no doubt, Sin City is better. But when did it become a betrayal of conservative values to appreciate a city such as Boston, with its nearly four centuries of tradition? Which city would Edmund Burke have preferred?

It's a remarkable achievement of Americans that they are constantly building a civilization from the dirt up out on the exurban frontier as they flee the high cost, bad schools, congestion, and crime of their old homes.

Yet, by necessity, these are thin, poorly rooted civilizations, better endowed with power malls than symphony halls.

[More]


My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

48 comments:

Proofreader said...

Old colonial hands, whether in Africa or the Americas, all used to say that no matter what you did, everything ended up being swallowed by the jungle and by the natives. That seems to be the sad fate of the USA.
European civilization has a feeble grasp when uprooted from Europe.

SKT said...

What's interesting is that it's not just downstate New York and California that are expensive now, but also Washington, New Jersey, Miami, and even inland places like Las Vegas.

I'm used to living in my own one bedroom place. Once I get done with school I'll make roughly $45,000 for a number of years. Where am I supposed to go? Fargo? All the best places are too expensive now, and even some of the places that folks would just settle for in the past (like Philadelphia, Central Florida) are now getting out of reach.

Anonymous said...

I grew up lower middle class in Marin County, California, in the 1970s, just across the Bay from San Francisco. And there's no way in hell someone of my parents' income could afford a home there now. It's an enclave for the wealthy and the overleveraged, and for good reason. Marin County is the frickin' Garden of Eden. The weather is great, you're a short drive across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco and its cultural amenities, there are tons of hiking and biking trails and unspoiled coastline and the schools are excellent. Steve puts his finger on the obvious, but it doesn't get said enough-- a big reason the coastal megalopolises are so crowded and expensive is that they're great places to live, so they act as magnets not just for multigenerational immigriant families but for the nation's elite, who want the great weather, culture, and excitement, and can afford to insulate themselves from a lot of the negatives (crime, lousy schools, etc.) If they could afford where they wanted, who in their right mind would choose Tuscon, Riverside, or Provo over the nicer neighborhoods of Boston, L.A., or New York City?

TabooTruth said...

I don't think people need huge houses and large yards. Many prosperous people live in the world without huge living spaces. People here can sometimes get too greedy for space.

It's an IQ, not an immigrant issue. But yeah, serious imbalances going on.

Udolpho said...

Worse, new cities are horribly ugly places. Look at the architecture, the floor plans, the space and materials and so on of older buildings, and compare them to what is built today. Suicidally depressing. There seems to be much greater crassness in new cities as well.

DreadCthulhu said...

Many of the "interior boomtowns" & exburbs do have another advantage, unrelated to immigrants - they are well designed to get around by automobile, unlike older towns with narrow twisting streets that can be pain to navigate and commute on.

There is a fiscal advantage as well, since it makes longer commutes viable (due to higher average speed) meaning you can be within commuting distance of a larger number of employers, even with a less dense city.

jody said...

i just spent 4 years in vegas. when i got there in 02 it was pretty good, but it's been going downhill since then.

a few of the new suburbs really are good places to live, but vegas is still a bad place to have a family. people are only moving to las vegas to escape southern california, not because it is good in general.

the city is being overrun by mexicans and illegal aliens, which is something it had avoided for years. they have been following everybody out of california.

they follow the white people who build all the infrastructure and technology in the desert. without them, the mexicans would not be around in numbers.

the crime rate is very high and is exceptionally high for a city with so few black americans. vegas probably has the highest crime rate of any city with few blacks. in 06 it seemed like the police were killing about 2 people per week.

it's dangerous to drive there. the drivers are bad in general and the illegals do not have insurance. about 2 people per week are killed driving, most recently a boxer named diego corrales.

the school district is 50% mexican and there are no good high schools in the city. UNLV is not a good college and anybody with a brain goes out of state. the casino industry also contributes to bad high schools because they offer good paying jobs and even complete careers for people with low intelligence or education. why work hard at school when you are just going to enter the service industry anyway and make a lot of money?

i advise people seriously thinking about vegas to move into either summerlin or deep into henderson, or just wait for coyote springs to be built.

Peter said...

Speaking of Las Vegas, I read just the other day that it has the highest rate of home mortgage foreclosures in the country. One out of every 30 home mortgages is in foreclosure, several times the national rate.

Mark said...

It's a remarkable achievement of Americans that they are constantly building a civilization from the dirt up out on the exurban frontier as they flee the high cost, bad schools, congestion, and crime of their old homes.

It would be even more remarkable if they were able to put their heads together and realize that the reason they're always fleeing one neighborhood after another is because of our immigration and race problems. Americans have been so thoroughly brainwashed on issues of race that many people don't even realize that immigration is the cause.

I've met literally dozens of ex-Californians - nearly all of them white - and the first thing out of the mouth of every last one of them regarding California is "it's so expensive to live there."

What they could add - and what many WOULD add if they were allowed to - is that it's too expensive to find a neighborhood that's safe for white people to live in, and where their neighbors share their cultural values.

Michael Barone is completely lost on the subject. He compares new immigrant waves to the old ones. He compares Asians to Jews and Mexicans to the Irish, oblivious to the number of Irish who would be appalled at such. He also seems to think that just because a person changes geographical location they are magically transformed into something entirely different.

Well. I've lived in multiple geographical locations throughout my life, and I've been basically the same person no matter where I was. And Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, though different from Europe, are far more like Europe than like the pre-exploration world that was occupied by Indians, Maoris, and Aborigines.

Todd said...

If they could afford where they wanted, who in their right mind would choose Tuscon, Riverside, or Provo over the nicer neighborhoods of Boston, L.A., or New York City?

Ha! Well, I've had the misfortune of living in Provo while I was attending college (quite recently, in fact), and I can tell you you're absolutely correct. I HATED Provo, and I am no longer a Mormon, but I can also assure you that if the choice was between my wife and I living as DINKs in Boston or having kids and living in Provo, I'd choose Provo every time.

And that's really what separates the conservatives from the liberals. It's not that conservatives don't appreciate the cultural amenities of Boston and other great cities. It's that we value having families even more.

That's why the early waves of people fleeing CA were filled with conservatives. Now, lots of people fleeing can't afford to live there whether they have families or not. They are thus more liberal, and moving their new home states in that direction.

If Michael Barone thinks that Hispanics and Asians will magically transform into conservatives the minute they set foot into one of the red states, then he needs to get his head examined. All the minority dominated state senate and legislative districts in Salt Lake County tilt far towards the Democratic column. The races aren't even close.

Anonymous said...

European civilization is being destroyed. There it's MUSLIM immigrants who are imposing Sharia Law and are openly allied with the Leftist elites (who are wealthy rent-seekers just like ours).

France, Germany, and the UK have all had an exodus of talented young people. London has 500,000 French emigres, but the UK itself is seeing talented educated people move to the US or Canada or Australia as they are priced out of housing and see creeping Sharia.

The UK has banned: Piglet from Winnie the Pooh, the three little pigs, teaching the holocaust, the Union Jack, pork products, and various other items from aspects of public life because Muslims threaten terror. And they still get constant terror plots and the odd jihad.

It's the same all over, wealth elites making common cause with immigrants to force out the middle classes. Because what is most profoundly threatening to the elites is upward mobility by the middle class. The same thing happened in the Middle Ages too.

Jed said...

Well there is a problem with the Sailer-Barone theory here, at least as it relates to "fleeing foreigners."

- Both the native-born and foreign-born non-citizen (some of whom are legal immigrants) populations declined in "Coastal Megalopolises"

- The numbers of foreign-born non-citizens increased three times faster than native-born in the "Interior Boomtowns" where the native-born were supposedly heading to avoid immigrants

The reality is that these demographic trends point more towards things that native-born and foreign-born people have in common, particularly the desire to find employment and affordable housing.

If there is a feature here worth exploring, it is whether or not once they move, the native-born find they face increased competition in the work-place from foreign-born workers, or whether the economy is strong enough that everybody is satisfied.

Regardless of the answer to that, our immigration system does need rationalizing, but it turns out that Barone's article and Sailer's essay aren't particularly relevant to that effort.

Ron Guhname said...

If this trend continues, all of us non-elite whites are eventually going to end up within the borders of, say, Kansas. The thick brown circle around us with white sprinkles will be called Dunkinia, and we'll be the colorless Donutholia.

Dave said...

Jody:

"it's dangerous to drive there. the drivers are bad in general and the illegals do not have insurance. about 2 people per week are killed driving, most recently a boxer named diego corrales."

Diego Corrales was an adrenaline junkie who was probably going triple digits on his motorcycle.

BTW, for those of you who haven't seen it -- even if you aren't boxing fans -- I urge you to find and see the first fight between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo. Unreal.

alan smitty said...

Interesting article, but essentially a rehash of Sailer's standard position.

He still misses the essential question. If you're an upper middle class white person, who would you rather live next door to? Who would you rather see your kids dating?

When it comes to upwardly mobile minorities, Latinos are always preferrable to blacks. Latinos are whiter, 50/50 on average, and generally speaking, not people you'd mind inviting to your barbecue.

White heart surgeons and tax attorneys are about as thrilled to be living with their black counterparts as white convicts are thrilled to be imprisoned with black convicts.

Hence the fury that greets affirmative action for blacks, but not for Latinos, Indians, or white women.

Udolpho said...

Hey, but more tacos and mariachi music for Tyler Cowen to enjoy so it all evens out.

Anonymous said...

Jed:

I don't think you really made your case very well.

-Immigrants may be leaving coastal megalopolises for interior boomtowns too, but that doesn't change the fact that there are still fewer of them in interior boomtowns than there are in coastal megalopolises. In this case, it's the absolute percentages that matter, not the trends (for now).

-The existence of employment and affordable housing in a region is not independent of the number of immigrants.

-If you're going dispute Barone's purported fact that immigrants are flowing into the C.M, you should at least provide a source for your assertion that he's wrong and they're leaving instead.

c23

Anonymous said...

Jody said:
"the casino industry also contributes to bad high schools because they offer good paying jobs and even complete careers for people with low intelligence or education. why work hard at school when you are just going to enter the service industry anyway and make a lot of money?"

Help a young man out. What careers are well paid in Las Vegas like the ones you're referring too?

There is a documentary on Las Vegas that the History Channel or A&E airs every so often, it's probably 7 or 8 years old. One of the journalists interviewed in it said Las Vegas is arguably the last place in America where a person with only a high school education can make a middle class living.

Anonymous said...

One thing stands out: even Democrats are hearing complaints from Primary voters on Illegal Immigration, in places like Iowa and Kansas. Even in land-rich states the crowding, crime and competition for desirable real estate is driving most middle class whites even Dem Primary Voters to complain about illegal immigration. Or so says Mickey Kaus.

IF this is true (I think it's reasonable to assume it is true -- economic realities of competition for real estate dominate middle class life) then illegal immigration and the costs to middle class voters COULD potentially be the Prop 13 of today.

Very interesting. Some smart politician will use that issue to jump past the pack.

I think you can see this pressure, i.e. competition for land, in the gentrification wars. Places like Echo Park in LA, or in New Orleans (where I lived ten years ago) in the Upper Garden District. Yuppie couples with kids would try and homestead, find both restoration of old houses/mansions in New Orleans was very difficult and the crime just too much. Local blacks well understood the stakes of gentrification and resisted it with all their street army might. The killing of the naive "independent film maker" in Fauburg Marigny recently (she was shot holding her baby) came as no surprise. It's right next to the French Quarter, lots of cool jazz clubs (Ellis Marsalis, father of Branford and Wynton, played there occasionally and left with bodyguards, natch) such as Cafe Brasil and Club Zinc. But ten years ago a Catholic Priest (Black) was shot and killed in a street robbery. He had his full collar etc. on too.

I don't think overall white yuppies are stupid about crime and the stakes of gentrification (locals will IMHO literally kill to protect their neighborhood from what amounts to economic cleansing).

That white yuppies would go to such desperate lengths to find housing IMHO speaks to a crisis that will eventually spill out just as Prop 13 did. It just needs it's own Howard Jarvis. Fred Thompson? He's made noises in that direction, and it could jump-start him over everyone else. Cheaper housing for everyone is certainly a vote getter.

tvoh said...

I am a Bostonian by birth. As a young kid, my family left the inner city. This was no flight from crime, it was the fifties. A cheap mortgage took us out. People were steadily moving out over the decades. Granted, the hegira was accelerated by the forced busing insanity.

I'm glad we left. A working class family, I doubt my parents ever went to Symphony Hall to hear the BSO. Probably 99% of Greater Boston does not listen to classical music or ever did. If you asked people, they would say the oldies station played classical music.

People who leave Boston do not make a beeline to Vegas.

Today, I live in the far exurbs. We do go to Tanglewood at least twice a summer. It is easier to get to and there are no hassles to park. Bring your own supper and picnic on the lawn. Every family or couple brings a bottle of wine and there are no fights. Beats a rock concert.

When Socrates was hanging around the Agora, he did not have to worry about rush hour traffic* Which is really hell in Boston and is what makes the place so unlivable. Also a minus is a goofy, but cunning mayor who makes W sound like Cicero.

The Boston/Cambridge pseudo intellectual milieu is there, but most of the Hahvuhd profs live in cushy Belmont. They can take a quick bus and subway trip to the Square from whence they can lecture the lumpen caucasian on equality.

If that is still too much urbanity, they can travel west to the Amherst-Northampton region which is just as pseudo intellectually well developed, with Smith, Umass, Amherst College, Camp Hamp and Mount Holyoke all fairly close. The African American minority is of the right size and makes the acceptable anti racist noises. We are cute about our system of Apartheid.

*Of course there was that period when Lysander and the Spartan fleet were causing starvation. And that trial where they were deciding on whether or not he should have a free beverage. Today, he could publish** anything and he would just be another Ph.D. Only don't use the word "nappy"

**Actually, he never did publish anything even though Bill Bennett seems to think he did.

tommy said...

Mark,

It would be even more remarkable if they were able to put their heads together and realize that the reason they're always fleeing one neighborhood after another is because of our immigration and race problems. Americans have been so thoroughly brainwashed on issues of race that many people don't even realize that immigration is the cause.

I've met literally dozens of ex-Californians - nearly all of them white - and the first thing out of the mouth of every last one of them regarding California is "it's so expensive to live there."


Yes, resolving that problem would require a degree of collective behavior from whites (i.e., whites acting in the interests of, and in concert with, other whites). Since that sort of racially-oriented thinking among whites has been discouraged in our society, it is very difficult to find enough people who would be able to make it happen. No white person wants to attempt to take back the 'hood one family at a time.

There is probably plenty of low-income housing in big cities that could be bought up or bought out, renovated, and effectively sealed off from more crime-prone nearby neighborhoods by groups of whites willing to act toward that end. The problem is that such ethnic collectivism is nonexistent among whites -- unless you count Hasidic and other Orthodox Jews in places like Borough Park, Brooklyn.

Udolpho,

Hey, but more tacos and mariachi music for Tyler Cowen to enjoy so it all evens out.

Exactly. Aren't higher housing costs a small price to pay for a better-tasting enchilada?

ricpic said...

People are attracted to the old, tight, 19th century cities in their teens and twenties. It's then that you need, or think you need, downtown and bright lights and people, people, people. By the mid-30's, the onset of middle age for most, the glamour has more than worn off and the advantages of space and light and easy mobility become ever more apparent. Who needs the daily reality of noise and grime and daily near combat after the youth induced glamour has worn off?

Dave said...

One fact Steve doesn't add into this equation: 69% of American adults own their own homes. Because of this, the recent boom in home prices has been perceived as a plus for most Americans -- particularly for those selling and then moving further out into the exurbs. For those who don't already own... it's not so great, but this is a minority.

That said, I doubt immigration has had a major effect on the most recent boom. Mexican illegals aren't bidding up the cost of real estate, and the boom wasn't a result of a spike in legal immigration. The causes of the run-up in prices included the essential elimination of capital gains taxes on the sale of primary residences and mortgage interest rates lower than they had been in 40 years.

In New York City, there has been a couple of unique additional factors: 1) World War II-era rent control laws, that keep below-market rents on maybe 10-20% of the housing stock, thus artificially increasing the costs of market-rate real estate. 2) Rich Europeans buying property in Manhattan, taking advantage of exchange rates -- not immigrants, but foreign citizens who spend a few months a year in New York on tourist visas.

David Davenport said...

Mexican illegals aren't bidding up the cost of real estate

Disagree, for three reasons.

Mexicans HAVE been buying houses in towns such as Las Vegas. Proof of legal residenccy? Don't need no steenkin papers like dat to get sub-prime mortgeege!

Whether they buy or rent, Mexicans drive up house prices in respectable parts of town(s) by enlarging the slum zones in middle American cities.

Cheap Mex labor, often working "off the books" has helped fuel real estate overbuilding.

Ok, overbuilding means that house prices are going to be coming down. To be fair, i'll have to say that cheap Mexican labor is going to make US house prices cheaper in the future. So who suffers? people who bought a mortgage during the real estate top of the past few years.

You immigration apologists really ought to get out of NYC more often.

... There is a silver lining to the Mexican cloud: the pending real estate slump means that there will be less demand for los illegales' labor. Prediction: as real estate goes down, so will "elite' media's avidity for more Mexicans in the US.

Just Another Gabacho said...

Prediction: as real estate goes down, so will "elite' media's avidity for more Mexicans in the US.

This seems excessively optimistic. The elite media is the propaganda wing of the Democratic party - and Republicans who act like Democrats - like McCain. The elite media will not soon, not ever, lose its enthusiasm for highly fertile likely Democrats.

Jeez, Steve points this out often enough.

SFG said...

People are attracted to the old, tight, 19th century cities in their teens and twenties. It's then that you need, or think you need, downtown and bright lights and people, people, people. By the mid-30's, the onset of middle age for most, the glamour has more than worn off and the advantages of space and light and easy mobility become ever more apparent. Who needs the daily reality of noise and grime and daily near combat after the youth induced glamour has worn off?

Naaah. Steve's theory actually explains that too. Young people want to live in cities because that's where other young people live . If I am a single man, I don't want to live in a family-friendly place that bans bars and nightclubs where I might meet a single woman. Once the two of us are no longer single, we want space to raise children.

It's like asking a frog whether water or land is a better place to live. When you're a tadpole, or when you're a frog?

tommy said...

Rich Europeans buying property in Manhattan, taking advantage of exchange rates -- not immigrants, but foreign citizens who spend a few months a year in New York on tourist visas.

So, an elite group of Europeans purchasing prime real estate in Manhattan (never the cheapest place to live anyway) is a problem, but Mexicans swallowing up East LA and other vast tracts of the Paradise City and making them uninhabitable for the solitary working-class Anglo isn't?

Anonymous said...

David Davenport:

"... There is a silver lining to the Mexican cloud: the pending real estate slump means that there will be less demand for los illegales' labor."

Home prices are a lagging indicator. The share prices of publicly-traded home builders are a leading indicator, and those stocks have been sucking wind for a while. The building boom is already over, and fewer Mexicans are sneaking in to work here, because there are fewer construction jobs.

Mexicans aren't bidding up the prices on houses. They're not bidding up the prices Porches either.

Dave said...

Tommy:

"So, an elite group of Europeans purchasing prime real estate in Manhattan (never the cheapest place to live anyway) is a problem..."

I didn't characterize it as a problem, I just identified it as a factor in the run-up of Manhattan real estate prices. See again my point about the different perspectives of those who own real estate versus those who don't but want to.

"...but Mexicans swallowing up East LA and other vast tracts of the Paradise City and making them uninhabitable for the solitary working-class Anglo isn't?"

I don't pretend to be an expert on LA real estate, but I would be surprised if illegal aliens were bidding up the prices of real estate there either. They certainly aren't the cause of the higher real estate prices here. Unless LA illegals are producing movies or something, how could they afford to buy in middle class areas?

We have our share of illegals here, working in landscaping, restaurants, etc., and they tend to live in the sorts of places that no middle class person would even consider -- like second floor apartments above businesses on Main Street, places with no parking (which doesn't deter the illegals, who travel by bike).

I can see other reasons to crack down on illegal immigration (aside from the obvious one, that it's illegal), but I don't buy that illegal busboys are putting real estate prices out of reach for anybody.

David Davenport said...

Banking on illegal immigrants

Banks are seeing an untapped resource in providing home loans to undocumented U.S. residents

August 8, 2005: 3:39 PM EDT

By Shaheen Pasha, CNN/Money staff writer

NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - The banking industry is opening its doors to a controversial new market: illegal immigrants.

Despite heated political debate in Washington over illegal immigration in the United States, an increasing number of banks are seeing an untapped resource for growing their own revenue stream and contend that providing undocumented residents with mortgages will help revitalize local communities.

It's a win-win situation, they say.


...


But skeptics worry about the message these home loans send to illegal immigrants: break our laws and we'll reward you with a home.

"It's institutionalizing illegality," said Marti Dinerstein, president of Immigration Matters, a New York-based think tank. "Now there's no distinction being made between the people that follow all the rules and those who break our laws by entering the country or overstaying their visas."

Dinerstein also worried that lack of knowledge on the part of illegal immigrants could pave the way for abuse in the form of predatory lending.

But advocates of the practice say the benefits outweigh any potential downside.

According to the Center for Immigration Studies, one million illegal immigrants cross the U.S. borders every year. About 500,000 illegal immigrants lose that status every year either by getting legitimate green cards or returning to their native countries. That leaves a 500,000 annual net increase of illegal immigrants – a market that has unmet banking needs.

"This is a huge untapped market with people that live and work in this country and are capable of buying homes to realize the American dream," said Chan Peterson, executive vice president and head of community banking at Banco Popular, one of the earliest banks to enter this field. …


http://money.cnn.com/2005/08/08/news/economy/illegal_immigrants/

tommy said...

I don't pretend to be an expert on LA real estate, but I would be surprised if illegal aliens were bidding up the prices of real estate there either. They certainly aren't the cause of the higher real estate prices here. Unless LA illegals are producing movies or something, how could they afford to buy in middle class areas?

Okay, but like I said, no white person wants to take back the 'hood (or the barrio) one family at a time. Minorities with high rates of crime and low rates of education don't have to bid up the prices, they just have to move into working class neighborhoods en masse and make affordable land, with low crime rates and good schools, unavailable. The scarcity of remaining land will ensure that prices rise there.

Mark said...

... There is a silver lining to the Mexican cloud: the pending real estate slump means that there will be less demand for los illegales' labor. Prediction: as real estate goes down, so will "elite' media's avidity for more Mexicans in the US.

The enthusiasm for open borders will not abate anytime soon. It would take some extraordinary event - a 9/11 times 100, perhaps - for that to happen. If the Ft. Dix massacre hap happened, it might have occurred. Even then, it would be the middle class folks, not the elites, who would harden their resolve.

It would probably take dirty bombs going off simultaneously in Aspen, Martha's Vineyard, Manhattan, Beverly Hills, Boulder, Bellevue, Marin County, Lake Tahoe and the Hamptons for that to change. (Incidentally, if that did happen, the terrorists would actually be getting the Americans they hate the most).

The rich benefit from illegal immigration no matter what the housing market is like at any particular moment. Large inflows of immigrants will benefit the owners of businesses and land, whether that's now or later.

That white yuppies would go to such desperate lengths to find housing IMHO speaks to a crisis that will eventually spill out just as Prop 13 did. It just needs it's own Howard Jarvis. Fred Thompson? He's made noises in that direction, and it could jump-start him over everyone else. Cheaper housing for everyone is certainly a vote getter.

The trouble with that is that Thompson has no reliable history of opposing high levels of immigration. Even more difficult is that it's nearly impossible for a candidate to run on secure borders and still raise the money he needs. Let's face the facts - practically all of the money raised by candidates comes from rich interests who support high immigration and/or who are looking to buy politicians. The middle and working classes just don't bother to contribute: they could make a huge difference if they did, but they don't. (Even if they do contribute in small amounts, no one knows what position caused them to donate. Enforcement advocates need their own EMILY's List.)

It's the same all over, wealth elites making common cause with immigrants to force out the middle classes. Because what is most profoundly threatening to the elites is upward mobility by the middle class. The same thing happened in the Middle Ages too.

By 1300, something like 60% of all Europeans were serfs, tied to the land and their master. That's the slavery you never hear about. After the Black Death, which caused huge amounts of labor shortages, increasing wages for the poor. The landed nobles were pissed, and Edward II, among other kings, enacted numerous laws, such as wage freezes, to keep the poor "in their place."

Mark said...

they follow the white people who build all the infrastructure and technology in the desert. without them, the mexicans would not be around in numbers.

In the 1840s, Mexicans weren't around in huge numbers. The 1850 US census placed the population of California at about 90,000. There were almost no Mexican settlements in the land we supposedly "stole" from them. The Mexican claims on the land we "stole" were as effective as if I were to claim Pluto for myself.

No white person wants to attempt to take back the 'hood one family at a time. There is probably plenty of low-income housing in big cities that could be bought up or bought out, renovated, and effectively sealed off from more crime-prone nearby neighborhoods by groups of whites willing to act toward that end. The problem is that such ethnic collectivism is nonexistent among whites. - tommy

I don't think it requires ethnic collectivism. Have you seen the news? A private equity firm has bought out Chrysler for $7 billion. It would be quite easy for a developer with a plan to buy up bad neighborhoods in convenient parts of town and rennovate/rebuild an area large enough to make it attractive to the middle class.

The real problem is that in many cities the city council would fight it tooth and nail. In minority dominated towns, the councilmen would oppose any plan that would result in the loss of their political supporters, even if their supporters benefitted from such a plan. These politicians don't want neighborhood improvement. They want to drive out whites and continue to get vast amounts in federal government handouts for their cities.

Minority - especially black - politicians are very adept at crafting policies that drive out whites. Through high taxes, onerous regulations, school zoning, racist business dealings and carefully directed chaos, they know how to encourage white flight.

White racial awareness is on the rise. Not through any concerted effort, but as a consequence of policies that are driving the middle class to the brink of poverty. When even Johnny Engineer has to buy a home with a brown lawn on the edge of the desert that's a 90 minute commute from his job, he's not gunna be very empathetic to the whining of immigrants and minorities.

Mark said...

I don't pretend to be an expert on LA real estate, but I would be surprised if illegal aliens were bidding up the prices of real estate there either. They certainly aren't the cause of the higher real estate prices here. Unless LA illegals are producing movies or something, how could they afford to buy in middle class areas? - dave

It's simple: supply and demand. Immigrants increase the demand as much as anyone. They live there in vast numbers, and obviously they're living somewhere. Frequently immigrants, legal or illegal, will live many families to a house. Pool your money and you can afford it. Sure, the prices are high - but then so is rent.

Anonymous said...

Because of this, the recent boom in home prices has been perceived as a plus for most Americans -- particularly for those selling and then moving further out into the exurbs. For those who don't already own... it's not so great, but this is a minority.

But in fact, this "benefit" to homeowners is a zero-sum transfer. The overall effect of housing scarcity is detrimental to the economy at large.

Anonymous said...

While what you say about the adverse effects of immigration may be correct, the truth is that California isn't really crowded. It's only crowded by American standards, for example, California has half the density of Italy. Working-class Americans expect a house to have a huge back yard and a garage to park both their cars. These things aren't really necessary. It's perfectly possible to raise a family where the shops are in walking distance and you don't have to drive your kids everywhere.

Anonymous said...

Mark, have you not been paying attention to places like Oakland and the eastern neighborhoods of Los Angeles-- economically distressed areas of prosperous coastal megalopolises where white people and Asians have successfully homesteaded areas that were formerly minority and working class? Jerry Brown's policies as mayor were all about attracting affluent white and Asian taxpayers who were getting priced out of San Francisco to come and redevelop Oakland. While in L.A., you're getting gays and hipsters steadily pushing eastward, from Los Feliz to Silver Lake to Highland Park, Eagle Rock, and even Echo Park, pushing out low income Latinos. You always get gays and hipsters as the shock troops of gentrification, because they don't mind dealing with the trash, grafitti, car break ins, and the like, but soon after them come the hip families looking for cool neighborhoods who can't afford the westside or the nicer parts of the Valley.

Dave said...

"But in fact, this "benefit" to homeowners is a zero-sum transfer. The overall effect of housing scarcity is detrimental to the economy at large."

Zero-sum? Really? Housing prices going up was bad for the economy? The housing boom was the main driver of the broader economy for the last five years.

Anonymous said...

Zero-sum? Really? Housing prices going up was bad for the economy? The housing boom was the main driver of the broader economy for the last five years.

If you cannot build anywhere due to zoning restrictions and/or land prices, you're not going to have much of a "housing boom". As for being a "driver of the economy", my hunch is that you're confusing correlation with causation. Real estate construction is a "roundabout" activity which is sensitive to interest rates. It's low interest rates which are the true driver of the economy.

tommy said...

Zero-sum? Really? Housing prices going up was bad for the economy? The housing boom was the main driver of the broader economy for the last five years.

To the extent that people who are selling their homes must find new ones locally (either purchasing new and more expensive ones or renting more expensive ones) or leave town for a new, cheaper location, it would appear that while any particular individual may do well in the housing market, the overall gain for all homeowners is going to much less than might be expected over the long run. That gain also comes at a cost of abandoning increasingly "multicultural" coastal regions, especially in the sunnier locations of the country, for places that are further inland.

tommy said...

These things aren't really necessary. It's perfectly possible to raise a family where the shops are in walking distance and you don't have to drive your kids everywhere.

Overall, California has not become more family friendly over the years. Sorry, it hasn't. The occasional "hip family" aside, most people are concerned about their children's education and multicultural schools that perform abysmally aren't very attractive to most white Americans. (Remember, California is now down there in many educational metrics with the Deep South. Amazingly, California increasingly has nothing on the likes of Mississippi and Louisiana academically in spite of educational expenditures that are undoubtedly far above those southern states.) Also, if those streets are not particular safe, you can forget the walking distance.

The long-term trend is toward cities inhabited by hordes of minorities dotted with wealthy liberal white and Asian enclaves far too expensive for the very diverse, colorful, vibrant rabble leftists pay lip-service to politically. White working and middle-class families need not apply.

Mark said...

Housing prices going up was bad for the economy? The housing boom was the main driver of the broader economy for the last five years.

Driving it how? The problem with an economy driven by the housing market is that it increases to new real wealth into the economy, because housing isn't, for the most part, something you can trade with other nations. That's why the big three deficits have been soaring during the economic "boom" - the federal budget deficit, the trade deficit, and consumer debt.

Our long-term economy depends not on a booming housing market, but an economy that focuses on out-producing other nations.

This also gets into the distinction of what's good for the "economy" versus what's good for the people. Young people looking to start families most certainly do not benefit from soaring home prices. They suffer from them, which is why housing costs are inversely related to birthrates and family size.

While what you say about the adverse effects of immigration may be correct, the truth is that California isn't really crowded. It's only crowded by American standards, for example, California has half the density of Italy. Working-class Americans expect a house to have a huge back yard and a garage to park both their cars. These things aren't really necessary.

That's exactly what we need! Americans just need to lower their sites! Why, we should be more than happy to be as crowded as Bangladesh or Korea, even if we don't have to be.

Anonymous said...

The problem with an economy driven by the housing market is that it increases to new real wealth into the economy, because housing isn't, for the most part, something you can trade with other nations.

I think you're missing the point. IIRC, the Japanese were buying plenty of US land and real estate in the 1980's - are you saying that this was a good thing?

This also gets into the distinction of what's good for the "economy" versus what's good for the people.

If you think there's any such distinction, you're being deceived by think tank faux "economists".

The basics of real estate economics have been known to economists for nearly 100 years. You could inform yourself, and stop supporting the real estate lobbyists who want to wreck your local market just like they wrecked CA.

Dave said...

You guys really need to hit Google or Yahoo Finance or something and re-acquaint yourself with the economic news of the last several years. Let me just summarize a few things here for you in the meantime.

1) Yes, Virginia, there was a housing boom. This included not just appreciation in the prices of existing homes, but the building of many new homes.

2) How did this drive the economy? Several ways, including:

A) Construction spending. More construction, more workers getting paid decent wages to build homes, more money for suppliers like lumber companies, tool companies, etc.

B) The Wealth Effect. People whose homes (or other assets) are appreciating tend to spend money more liberally, because they feel richer (The Wealth Effect from the housing boom kicked in at an opportune time, since the Wealth Effect from the stock market was going in reverse during the bear market of 2000-2002). This, along with C) and D) in particular, increased consumer spending, which is a huge driver of the economy.

C) Refinancing. Many homeowners refinanced their mortgages to lower rates, thus lowering their housing costs by hundreds of dollars per month. This gave them more free cash to either invest in the stock market or spend as consumers.

D) Tapping into home equity. Either through tax-deductible home equity lines of credit at low rates, or mortgage refinancing for more than the amount owed on the loan, many home owners got more cash-in-pocket.

E) Home improvement. The boom in home prices led to greater attention in home improvement. Lots of spending at companies like Lowe's on tools and materials, more work for contractors doing complex jobs, etc.

F) More work for ancillary services. Title insurance companies, real estate attorneys, realtors, home inspectors, mortgage loan officers, insurance companies, etc. all profited from the boom.

Jed said...

Anon/C23,

The stats are right under your nose, one of them even included in Barone's article.

My source is the census bureau data. From 2000-2005, there was a net outflow of foreign-born non-citizens (the census bureau category) from CM and a net inflow in IB.

The rate of inflow of foreign born citizens and non-citizens was much higher into IB than of native-born into CM. (1/3 of all new IB residents were foreign-born, at least 3x greater percentage than the population.)

If the native-born are fleeing CM for IB because of the foreign-born, they are complete and total idiots. -- because they are going where the foreign-born population is growing the fastest.

Personally, I think they are fleeign high housing prices for lower housing prices and better job prospects. But that's just me.

-Jed

Mark said...

If you think there's any such distinction, you're being deceived by think tank faux "economists". The basics of real estate economics have been known to economists for nearly 100 years. You could inform yourself, and stop supporting the real estate lobbyists who want to wreck your local market just like they wrecked CA.

Dave, Anon, etc.:

I'm not buying the drivel of faux economists. What I'm talking about is the increases in housing costs driven by 20 million new immigrants over the last decade needing a place to live.

That is not good for young Americans trying to start families. If the only choices for young couples are: a) really expensive housing in/near the city; or b) reasonably priced housing plus a 2 hour commute and a hellish gas bill, how is that good for Americans?

I'm not talking about the economy: I'm talking about the next generation. We have become so obsessed with economic stats that we've forgotten what a good economy is supposed to be for.

For example, Japan (in the 80s) and Korea have had super hot economies and stratospheric real estate prices. The end result? Both countries have some of the lowest birthrates in the world. The same is happening here: the increase in home prices is making it harder for young AMERICANS to start their own families. We are quite literally replacing our own children and grandchildren with OTHER PEOPLE'S children and grandchildren.

So don't try and sell me the economic bullcrap, when all the really important stats are moving in the wrong direction: the federal deficit, consumer debt, and the trade deficit. We are increasingly a debtor nation, in spite of our so-called "booming" economy.

Anonymous said...

What I'm talking about is the increases in housing costs driven by 20 million new immigrants over the last decade needing a place to live.

The only reason immigrants are driving housing prices up is because of development restrictions (zoning) and severely misguided "property tax relief" initiatives.

Anecdotally, the US states and world countries with highest rate of property taxation (New Hampshire, Connecticut, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Oregon; Canada, Switzerland, Australia) have better economies, cheaper housing and higher quality of life than states and world countries with low or no property taxes (Alabama, Arkansas, DC, Massachusetts, Wyoming; Austria, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden).

As for Japan's "super hot economy", are you aware of the fact that Japan shifted their tax burden away from land and real estate throughout the 1980's in the name of "tax relief"? In 1989 they had to introduce a consumption tax to make up for the lost revenue, and their economy has stagnated ever since.

If you want to say something intelligent and scientifically-minded about affordable housing and family formation, why are you ignoring facts which have been known to economists for nearly 300 years?

jody said...

couple of things

1) the guy from NYC who thinks mexicans are not driving up house prices in LA. sorry, but that's wrong. they definitely make houses more expensive. people who have not dealt with thousand and thousand and THOUSANDS of mexicans every single day should probably not comment on what is happening in border states, because they are out of touch. that's not an insult: you really can't even begin to understand how bad large scale mexican immigration is for the US until you have dealt with it for a few years, and you have seen the transformation. you need two reference points: your town before the invasion, and your town after. it's a night and day change.

2) "California is not crowded, it's only half as dense as Italy." well, should we wait until our nation is a dense as italy before doing something about it? isn't low density one of the good things about america? i like the US the way it is and i'm not that interested in living nation with super dense cities like mexico city. what's next, countering complaints about falling real wages with comparison to wages in russia or the philippines? "Who cares if real wages are falling, people in Russia barely make $10,000 a year!"

3) jed is wrong. people are leaving coastal cities to get away from immigrants. i meet people like this almost every day. anybody who thinks otherwise has no idea what they are talking about.

jed is interpreting his math wrong. it's easy to make small numbers grow fast and hard to make big numbers grow fast. if there is 1 mexican in my town and another mexican arrives, we have increased the number of mexicans 100% and the rate of growth is fast. if there are 100 mexicans in my town and another mexican arrives, we have increased the number of mexicans 1% and the rate of growth is slow. people are leaving the towns with the BIG numbers of mexicans and moving to the towns with SMALL numbers of mexicans. by mathematical definition, the towns wih SMALL numbers of mexicans will have a faster growing population of mexicans by the simple rules of arithmetic.