July 25, 2013

The spread of "sprawl" as latest explanation of black poverty

In the New York Times, David Leonhardt ponders critics (like me) pointing out that Raj Chetty's map of upward mobility (defined as chance child in bottom 20% of income in 1996 makes it to top 20% in income as a younger adult) in the United States looks like a map of the Where the Blacks Aren't. He answers by saying Chetty proved that wasn't true.
The simplest way to explain their conclusion may be to point out that upward mobility tends to be rare for both blacks and whites, as well as for Latinos, in low-mobility areas. In Charlotte, Atlanta and Indianapolis, low-income white children have also tended to grow up to be low-income adults. 
To help demonstrate this pattern, the four researchers – Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren of Harvard and Patrick Kline and Emmanuel Saez of the University of California, Berkeley – have produced another map, showing mobility only for ZIP codes that are at least 80 percent white. (ZIP codes that are less than 80 percent simply appear as blank on the map.)
But the message is clear: the mobility patterns look overwhelmingly similar in this map and in the map above showing all metropolitan areas. 
It’s worth pointing out that race may still play a role in creating these patterns. “Racial shares in an area do matter,” Mr. Chetty says. “But it’s not race at the individual level. It’s race at the level of the ‘commuting zone,’” he added, using the researchers’ term for a region. Whatever the differences are between high-mobility and low-mobility regions, they seem to apply to residents of every race. 

No, race at the individual level still very much matters when you are looking at the chances of the bottom 20%. In the last map, these Southeastern and Rustbelt districts might be ones where blacks make up less than 20% of the population, but they still make up a much larger fraction of the bottom 20% than in the Great Plains.

No, a big part of this is simply Galtonian regression toward the mean. It shouldn't be controversial that whites have higher mean incomes than blacks. So, white children who find themselves growing up in the bottom 20% regress part way toward a higher mean than black children growing up in the bottom 20%.  

Then Leonhardt trots out the liberal explanation du jour for the poor economic performance of heavily black metropolitan areas: sprawl.
Writing about the new study for The Atlantic, Matthew O’Brien laid out a specific case for how race might have created economic segregation in sprawl-filled regions: 
Atlanta, of course, is the prototypical case here: going back to the 1970s, it’s under-invested in public transit,

Okay, but on net African-Americans have been moving from public transit rich NYC to the sprawling Atlanta metropolitan area in pursuit of a better standard of living. Are blacks irrational about this? Or is it simply that Chetty's study inadequately controls for the very different costs of housing across the country?

Sprawl might be one factor, but how long does it take to come up with a list of old fashioned cities like Baltimore, Cleveland, St. Louis, Newark, Hartford, and Milwaukee with intense black poverty? (Of course, if, say, whites in Hartford flee to the suburbs, leaving a black core, then that's "job sprawl." That's so unfalsifiable that if Sir Karl Popper were alive today, he'd be spinning in his grave.)

Also consider the changing impact of local climate, which has only disparate impact effect on race: Think of the wage premium needed to attract workers due to the climate, with Honolulu at zero extra dollars and Point Barrow, Alaska at a bundle. There has been a big shift over the generations. They've had central heating in the Dakotas for a long time now, but air conditioning has spread in Georgia only in the second half of the 20th Century. The spread of AC means Georgia is filling up with workers newly happy about the climate, keeping wages down as it lowers the wage premium in Georgia relative to the Dakotas. In other words, the standard of living has gone up in Georgia due to summers becoming more tolerable. All else being equal, an endogenous change in technology that makes the climate seem better will lower the wage premium.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's impossible to make a man understand something if his livelihood depends on his NOT understanding it. In the MSM, any explanation that depends on race will be ignored or explained away, no matter how compelling the data is.

K

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty ignorant on this subject, so forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't sprawl often closely correlated with "White Flight" and migration to the suburbs due to high urban crime? If that's true, then progressives touting "sprawl" as the cause of black urban poverty have the arrow of causality almost exactly backwards.

Anonymous said...

"I'm pretty ignorant on this subject, so forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't sprawl often closely correlated with "White Flight" and migration to the suburbs due to high urban crime?"

Not just high urban crime, but also neighborhood destruction (both of black and white neighborhoods) in the form of so-called Urban Renewal and forced integration/busing of city school districts.

The latter urban liberals never mention when talking about sprawl and probably still think was a good thing.

peterike said...

Sprawl is a win-win for urban Liberals. First, it got rid of many middle-class whites who were the wrong kind of white: not hip urban Liberals. The white conservatives fled for the suburbs, leaving the city core dominated by Progressives and gays.

Sprawl then attracted blacks who were getting squeezed by real estate prices and ever growing Hispanic hordes needed to work the backrooms at expensive urban restaurants, clean apartments, etc. So blacks moved out, greatly assisted by Section 8. And the wrong kinds of whites who fled the blacks in the first place suddenly found them showing up in their neighborhoods. Sorry whites-we-hate!

The upshot: urban Progressives had their cities made hipper and safer, with the added frisson of sticking it to the bad whites.

And all the while those same urban Progressives can sneer about the horrors of sprawl and suburban vapidity and bemoan the lack of public transportation in cities they wouldn't be caught dead in.

Oddly, hip white cities tend to have pretty good public transport, New York being the ne plus ultra of such.

Sprawl: Everybody wins! Except, as always, the wrong whites.

Anonymous said...

Peterike nails it right on the head.

James Thompson said...

Very minor point: the focus on geography is not the best way to study social mobility. Looking at the intelligence of the child and the parents, or at least the educational achievements of family members will account for a large part of the variance. Parental education is a very strong factor, standing as a proxy for their intelligence.

jody said...

"He answers by saying Chetty proved that wasn't true."

there are areas on the map where poor, rural, brain drained europeans do nothing generation after generation. such as maine, and parts of west virginia and indiana.

the only people i ever met from maine were one of stephen king's sons, who i was friends with for a few years, stephen king himself, and some yokel i met in las vegas who moved to vegas from maine after racing snowmobiles for several years then realizing there's nothing to do and no opportunity in maine.

steve king was an ok guy in person, a little strange, but he's smug in his political writings considering maine is a totally backwards backwater. notice how he identifies himself with boston and massachusetts when writing politically, but aligns himself with maine for any other purpose. boston is like 120 miles and 2 states away from where he lives.

most of my mom's family is from indiana and they have been there for 200 years. they are white trash losers. most hoosiers aren't as bad as that, they're farmers and basketball lovers, but they don't economically advance. hard to do that when farming corn and soybeans, or scrounging for the last couple GM/ford/chrysler factory jobs. some pockets of indianapolis are really nice now, and the superbowl went over well with the press. a lot of upper class people are escaping chicago and moving to indianapolis.

west virginia, let's not get into that. suffice to say, it sucks. anybody with a brain leaves.

aside from that, the other areas on the map are american indian reservations or places were lots of poor dumb mexicans have congregated. they'll never produce anything.

the map doesn't show alaska or hawaii. wonder what's going on there. native alaskans, the aleut and eskimo peoples, are hopeless, and that's probably true of the native hawaiians too, although they have been completely displaced by east asian immigrants and haoles.

Puggg said...

If whites sprawl out of a black undertow county into a Whitopia urban sprawl county, this means there should be a lot of average income mobility (downward mobility) in the county whites are leaving, meaning that county should be lightly colored on this map.

jody said...

"Atlanta, of course, is the prototypical case here: going back to the 1970s, it’s under-invested in public transit"

what. atlanta had, at one point, one of the best, most advanced subways in the world. it was built around 1979 or 1980. john carpenter actually used it to shoot some parts of escape from new york. it's called MARTA, but locals call it "moving africans rapidly through atlanta".

isn't there a silent battle in most cities, when train lines are built, to deliberately not connect the african parts of town with the upscale parts of town? that's what happened in dallas and houston i think. but it didn't happen in atlanta. they move about freely.

is the author thinking about the rather public failure of the atlanta bus system during the 1996 summer olympics? a failure not due to the infrastructure, but rather the organizers, staff, and drivers.

charlotte has really good highways. they just built a new outer beltway around the city that is in great condition yet is hardly used. it's wide, level, well paved, well designed, yet sparsely traveled.

"Also consider climate: Think of the wage premium needed to attract workers due to the climate, with Honolulu at zero extra dollars and Point Barrow, Alaska at a bundle."

how much must this cost in canada, especially when all the oil is mostly up north. what does it cost extra per person to get them to come all the way to fort mcmurray for instance. yet canada is still doing great.

or in australia, where most of the mines are in the outback, a desert. i'm friends with a 65 year old mining engineer who got his degree from penn state back when nobody was doing geology or chemical engineering. now he's a multi-millionaire. how? back in the 80s, a company in australia paid him $300,000 a year to move to the middle of nowhere in the outback and develop their coal mines for 10 years. his wife and daughter hated the move, but loved the money.

in any event, sprawl clearly does not prevent europeans from prospering. it is, like a dozen other things, something which exerts peculiar physics over only the vibrant peoples of the world.

Whiskey said...

Plus 1000 for Peterike.

BTW, "sprawl" is as old as railways. London was getting suburbs in the 1830s, as was New Orleans (basically Uptown/the Garden District/Audobon Park). All powered by railways or streetcars.

Living in a city in the 19th Century (or before) was ugly, icky, nasty, disease prone, and filled with the ick of pre-sewer urine and feces of humans and horses. London, NYC, Boston, San Francisco, were miserable in the Summer due to the stench and the flies.

Railways changed all that. For the better -- people could visit the city, but keep their family (safer) away from the disease caused by dumping out chamber pots and horses doing their business in the streets. Cities as we know them really only became livable in the 1870's onward with sewage systems; and vast improvements by the motorcar were observed in the teens and 1920's.

jody said...

aside from the particulars, note the general idea. europeans are obligated to help the vibrant in general, and above all the africans in particular, to get jobs, accrue wealth, climb corporate ladders and eventually take over every organization or company which europeans created. and if that process is not happening, it's the europeans who are at fault, and need to change.

the vibrant are never expected to do any of this on their own. if they become physically and geographically isolated, it is a given that they have to sit around and wait for the europeans to overcome their inherent, permanent racism and do what they're supposed to do. mobilize to spend all their time, energy, and money making sure the vibrant succeed.

the default political assumption in america 2013: europeans are just mules, who's purpose is helping the other groups succeed and elevating them over the europeans themselves.

jody said...

last comment spam.

obama claims growing inequality is bad economics - but for the cultural marxism which he drives, economic inequality is a core tenet. deliberately forcing the demographics of a ethnically uniform nation, to instead take on the demographic profile of brazil, will necessarily create the thing which obama claims to want to avoid.

they talk about it like it's a gap, but it's more like a chasm. how can dumping millions of the vibrant of the world into a nation filled with western europeans and ashkenazi jews result in anything other than a brazilian gini coefficient.

south africa 63
brazil 54
mexico 48
china 47
US 45
-
japan 38
UK 34
france 32
canada 32
south korea 31
netherlands 30
australia 30
germany 28
finland 26
ukraine 26
sweden 25

homogenous first world nations are mainly the only place where a middle class exists and wealth accumlation is not so radically divergent. indeed, you could say, perhaps the whole idea of a middle class is an artificial, time limited one. it existed for, historically speaking, a short time, a couple decades, in a few european majority nations. and that generally speaking, there is no such thing as a naturally emergent middle class. such a thing does not exist in almost any other time period or economic system.

other economic and political situations simply don't produce such a thing. so the arrangement which is taken for granted in the US - a middle class - may have been a very special, temporary, and now disappearing artifact of peculiar economic and political conditions, conditions which are now gone and never returning.

Anonymous said...

Just a Scottish football (soccer) forum here - not of any massive importance - but indicative of the level of self-congratulatory right-on egalitarian goodthinking that goes on in that country that they can discuss the doom of Detroit so carefully without even once touching the deadly third rail of you-know what. Crimestop is in full effect. They literally find certain thoughts unthinkable

http://taboard.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=146024

Anonymous said...

Violent crime creates sprawl.

Violent crime that was never dealt with properly because the media wouldn't report it properly.

Physical geography should contain violent crime through boxing it in with natural barriers like rivers or artificial ones like freeways.

Therefore the differing physical geography of various cities should predict differing outcomes even with other factors constant.

Ultimately, similar outcomes can only be expected if violent crime is equalized. It can be equalized the wrong way by increasing violent crime in good neighborhoods through section-8 or it can be equalized the right way through dealing with it properly in the bad neighborhoods - in particualr recognizing that once a gang structure is in place crime is different and the gang structure itself must be targeted as a whole.

Anonymous said...

If whites and browns running from blacks is 'sprawl', what is whites moving back to cities? Haul? Haul them back by spreading the blacks out?

At any rate, better sprawl and mall than brawl and maul.

Whiskey said...

Not only is sprawl not an explanation for Black poverty, sprawl has existed in the East Coast for well, over a hundred and twenty years. Since even BEFORE the Brooklyn Bridge (via ferrys from Brooklyn to Manhattan) but certainly after it. Brooklyn then was far more rural, more suburban, and less developed. It was the center for a famous preacher, the noted (and philandering) Henry Ward Beecher.

Sprawl existed in Los Angeles, from the Pacific Electric Red Cars, starting around the early 1900s and far before the post-War freeway system. You could take the Red Cars down as far as Huntington Beach from Hollywood.

More magical thinking, trying desperately to avoid the truth about Black poverty and dysfunction. It cannot be fixed. It is certain. It will always be there. Blacks will always require lots of White money to have a decent life. Black people cannot provide for themselves because about half are illiterate and not capable of reading, see Rachel Jeantel and her lack of cursive.

They didn't ask to be here, but they're here. They have to be provided for -- and since Whites will have to pay for them forever, that also brings forward certain questions. About dependency, authority, and unity. Can America expect Whites to pay for Black dysfunction forever, without quarrel and qualm? Without demanding other things in return for the money (enhanced rights, diminished ones for Black people, and so on)?

Liberals want to avoid this question and others around them as long as they can. But they cannot be avoided forever.

Henrik Zimmerberg, Great White Defendant & Swedish-Jewish hockey-playing IT mogul said...

Whiskey:
BTW, "sprawl" is as old as railways. London was getting suburbs in the 1830s, as was New Orleans (basically Uptown/the Garden District/Audobon Park). All powered by railways or streetcars.

People flocked to the cities mainly for: money and excitement. The brains were there, the banks, the money, the industry. Often it was simply escape from rural boredom. Rural boredom and drudgery cannot be underestimated: they also also drove thousands of young men to risk their lives in military careers.

Consider that the traditional city or town was walled and gated for many good reasons. The obvious: Defense against armies of enemy nations. Not so obvious was the ability of the city to keep out the human "trash": bums, beggars, lepers, retards, gypsies, tramps, thieves, etc. Cities of old were pretty damn discriminating in whom they let in, and whom they kept out. It was an early form of eugenics.

The anti-city mentality, and ridiculous glorification of country living, was mostly post-1945 American, and was due to unique socioconomic factors.

Living in a city in the 19th Century (or before) was ugly, icky, nasty, disease prone, and filled with the ick of pre-sewer urine and feces of humans and horses. London, NYC, Boston, San Francisco, were miserable in the Summer due to the stench and the flies.

Living in the country was hardly antiseptic either. There were undrained swamps everywhere filled with flies, gnats, mosquitoes, malaria, and yellow fever. Human and animal waste (including manure) was everywhere on the farms. About the only good places in the country were the estates of the nobles.

Cities as we know them really only became livable in the 1870's onward with sewage systems; and vast improvements by the motorcar were observed in the teens and 1920's.

Sewage systems were older than that, especially outside of Western Europe. Byzantium, Cairo, Calcutta, Bombay, Beijing, Phnom Penh, Edo, etc. had effective sewage and disease control. That included strict police enforcement of what would now be called anti-pollution laws.

Anonymous said...

Jody, I want to respond to what you say here.


most of my mom's family is from indiana and they have been there for 200 years. they are white trash losers. most hoosiers aren't as bad as that, they're farmers and basketball lovers, but they don't economically advance. hard to do that when farming corn and soybeans, or scrounging for the last couple GM/ford/chrysler factory jobs. some pockets of indianapolis are really nice now, and the superbowl went over well with the press. a lot of upper class people are escaping chicago and moving to indianapolis.



Aren't you kind of being hard on Indy, part of the "heartland" region? Also isn't there a high number of religious people there? White trash is kind of hard. Must have its virtues. Suburbs such as Carmel and Fishers, for instance, have turned up on CNN's top small town places to live. Pretty good schools and decent income.

ALSO, Indianapolis has a 2 time Olympic Gold medal player on the US Women's Soccer team, Lauren Cheney.

Anonymous said...

There's a couple of lies going on here, let's correct them right now.


The anti-city mentality, and ridiculous glorification of country living, was mostly post-1945 American, and was due to unique socioconomic factors.

That is a lie. Anti-city mentality goes deep in US history, back to Thomas Jefferson and Ben Franklin, who praised country life and living compared to the rotten corruption of the cities.



Living in a city in the 19th Century (or before) was ugly, icky, nasty, disease prone, and filled with the ick of pre-sewer urine and feces of humans and horses. London, NYC, Boston, San Francisco, were miserable in the Summer due to the stench and the flies.

Living in the country was hardly antiseptic either. There were undrained swamps everywhere filled with flies, gnats, mosquitoes, malaria, and yellow fever. Human and animal waste (including manure) was everywhere on the farms. About the only good places in the country were the estates of the nobles.

This is also a lie. The black death of Europe, which wiped out roughly a full third of the populace almost NEVER touched rural areas. "head for the hills" is the apt phrase. Country living = longer lifespans. Mainly because you had more room, more area, so you could contain the various problems so common in tightly living quarters in the cities.



Cities as we know them really only became livable in the 1870's onward with sewage systems; and vast improvements by the motorcar were observed in the teens and 1920's.

Sewage systems were older than that, especially outside of Western Europe. Byzantium, Cairo, Calcutta, Bombay, Beijing, Phnom Penh, Edo, etc. had effective sewage and disease control. That included strict police enforcement of what would now be called anti-pollution laws.

Ah, yes, and Rome too. The Romans invented piped water in the cities. Guess what? The pipes were lead. How'd that work out? All the other cities you named were all hit at various times with outbreaks of Plague, leprousy, and other bacterial diseases while country living was relatively unscathed.

Historical fact: Foreign invaders almost always hit a nation or province or dutchy or area's main cities first since that's where the dough was. They tended to overlook the country.

Also keep in mind: The cities before the 20th century lagged far behind in one area: Food production. Where'd they get their food? Oh that's right, from the rural areas.

Bottom line: Country living up to recent times was always safer (much less crime) more living area (less closed and cramped quarters) waaaay far less plague and other deadly bacterial diseases (due to close proximation of rivers, oceans, some of which came from harbors and unloaded the disease carriers off of ships, etc) Very few rural areas/country areas were ever hit in massive numbers by disease, most notably the plague in the way that cities were decimated.


Notice with modern flight, sprawl is the same thing. Many many many folks simply dont wanna live in the cities.

AGAIN. WONDER WHY THAT IS? If city lights are soooo great, how come millions more vote with their tires and get out while they can? Wonder why?

Camlost said...

"Atlanta, of course, is the prototypical case here: going back to the 1970s, it’s under-invested in public transit"

Atlanta's population is not dense enough to make public transportation feasible. Very few metro Atlantans can walk to a train station from their home or job.

However, Atlanta public transportation does inspire great musical performances by the "youths" here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwkU-5OFPHY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQTuYo6HmiQ

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

there are areas on the map where poor, rural, brain drained europeans do nothing generation after generation. such as maine, and parts of west virginia and indiana.

They may not be setting the world on fire but they arent sinking into a pit of poverty and disaster either. A stable backdrop to more go-ahead regions.

Anonymous said...

The anti-city mentality, and ridiculous glorification of country living, was mostly post-1945 American, and was due to unique socioconomic factors.

I think you'll find elements of that in Britain in the early 1900s.


In Britain it was the nobles in their country estates who had that attitude, and could afford to have it. In America it was the middle class suburbanites.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how the failures of blacks is always blamed on anything but blacks.

Jim Bowery said...

Since correlation doesn't imply causation it is very important to prevent the formation of any control groups, such as traditional ethnic human ecologies involving people of European descent.

If such control groups are allowed to exist, the argument that correlation doesn't imply causation might not work to prevent people being eaten alive from arguing, convincingly, that they should be allowed to exclude those eating them alive.

There are so many who are so hungry.

Won't you help preserve the argument "Correlation doesn't imply causation." as the path to nourishment of millions if not billions of sociopaths world-wide?

Stamp out control groups, TODAY.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Historical gated cities were surprisingly clean. By keeping the riff-raff out, they could afford to be. It was only after 1600 that Western European and American cities began to be "ungated" and built up horrendous filth. It was also a fact that in traditional times, peasants often starved despite having food growing all around them, and urban workers were richer and ate better. And plagues ravaged the countryside too. The cities had to get food from somewhere, and in doing so passed the germs on. The only places spared from epidemics were totally isolated / self-sufficient farms and villages. Consider also that invading armies, including the Hun and Mongol hordes, needed food. After they sacked Rome or equivalent for gold, they raided farmland for food.

Cail Corishev said...

"There's a couple of lies going on here, let's correct them right now."

People are incredibly clueless about rural life these days. I've had people tell me they'd rather have their car break down in an urban area than a rural one, apparently because in the country you'll probably end up kidnapped by some hillbilly with an ax fetish.

The elderly people I know who lived through the Great Depression in town (even a small town) remember it being far worse than the ones who were on a farm. The farmers were just as poor -- probably poorer in dollars -- but at least they always had food.

Mr. Anon said...

"jody said...

most of my mom's family is from indiana and they have been there for 200 years. they are white trash losers. most hoosiers aren't as bad as that, they're farmers and basketball lovers, but they don't economically advance. hard to do that when farming corn and soybeans, or scrounging for the last couple GM/ford/chrysler factory jobs."

So their problem is that they actually seek productive, useful work - farming, manufacturing, etc. What would you have them do - become Entertainment Attorneys, video-game developers, or critical legal theorists? Your definition of "economic advancement" seems to be: finding a job that pays well, but produces nothing of any tangible value.

Cail Corishev said...

Aren't you kind of being hard on Indy, part of the "heartland" region? Also isn't there a high number of religious people there? White trash is kind of hard. Must have its virtues. Suburbs such as Carmel and Fishers, for instance, have turned up on CNN's top small town places to live. Pretty good schools and decent income.

You can go anywhere in the mostly-white rural/small-town Midwest and look around and find people doing meth, living in trailers that are falling apart, and practicing for their next appearance on Springer. But there are differences between them and the bottom of the urban barrel. For starters, they're fewer in number, so they don't affect the surrounding area much. They mostly keep to themselves and their crimes are mostly internal or non-violent -- domestic abuse, making their own drugs, kiting checks -- rather than mugging people or getting into turf wars. They very rarely shoot at each other (even though they're all armed), and never where innocents might get caught in the crossfire.

Basically, they're like the fertile folks at the beginning of Idiocracy: trashy and not too bright, certainly not the kind of people you'd hang out with if you had a choice, and certainly not net contributors to society; but you wouldn't have to fear for your life if you lived in their neighborhood, either.

pat said...

If this 'sprawl' theory were a serious hypothesis it would be easy to test. Here in California we have two cities - Los Angeles and San Francisco - which differ dramatically on the sprawl dimension.

San Francisco is a seven by seven mile square. It has the Pacific on west side, the Golden Gate on the north, the Bay on the east and a mountain range on the south. It can't sprawl like Los Angeles or San Jose.

So if this were a real theory we would expect blacks to be uniquely prosperous in San Francisco. But why then did San Francisco work so hard for so long to drive all the blacks out. Doesn't fit, does it?

In fact there is a growing appreciation by police forces everywhere that it's unwise to let black congregate in dense configurations. Too many black people in a confined area is the precursor to a riot. It's better to keep them well dispersed - or sprawled if you prefer.

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
Historical gated cities were surprisingly clean. By keeping the riff-raff out, they could afford to be. It was only after 1600 that Western European and American cities began to be "ungated" and built up horrendous filth. It was also a fact that in traditional times, peasants often starved despite having food growing all around them, and urban workers were richer and ate better.

Lie, Lie, AGAIN a lie. First off, for much of human history it has always been about 95-97% of homo sapiens were rural. So modern cities as it were didnt even come into being as we know them til around 3,000yrs or so. In the modern sense. Also the populations, although sparse by today's definition of mega cities were dense together with tight living quarters. Richer? In what way. Modern economy of capitalism was non existent til about 500 yrs ago. Humans dealt primarily in a barter based system. Even in the Roman empire where currency was becoming the norm, most of the ordinary people, most were rural peasants, still continued to deal in barter systems (trade) since they by and large had little use for currency. Taxes were collected from peoples crops. Where did townsfolk GET their food? Hmmm? They had to trade/barter it from the nearby farmlands since they grew very little of their own food. Whenever famines hit, the towns or cities were always the hardest hit since they grew so little of their own food.




And plagues ravaged the countryside too.

No they did NOT. Plagues decimated cities primarily and chiefly. The black death, the worst in Europes history wiped out 90%plus in the cities. Countrysides were largely spared. Why the hell do you think the noblemen who owned estates in the COUNTRY survived relatively unscathed? Because the plague didn't come near them. They were safe from it.






Anonymous said...

The cities had to get food from somewhere, and in doing so passed the germs on.


Not how it worked. Cities were decimated, male populations completely in some cities. They didn't "pass the germs on" since they died before they could get out!

Here's the thing most don't realize. In fairness. The plagues hit the cities 90%-95%. BUT it primarily targeted men. Between the ages of about 14-45. Older men and young boys and women by and large were spared the plague. Most victims of the plague were men. In the cities.


And I haven't even mentioned ancient diseases like leprosy that were almost completely town based. It struck townsfolk primarly so they had to move them outside the city walls. The countryside refused them so they formed their own colonies.



The only places spared from epidemics were totally isolated / self-sufficient farms and villages.

Yes, which is what nearly 100% of villages were back in middle ages up to 1700s. By and large they could survive on their own without any direct contact from towns. For the most part, for their daily living, they didnt need help from the towns. Not talking extras, frills, or additional things to enhance their lives. The basic bare necessities they could do and survive quite well without the towns.

Regarding food, the towns needed the country villages a lot more than the other way around.




Consider also that invading armies, including the Hun and Mongol hordes, needed food.


Exactly. They always struck the cities/towns primarily since that's where the money was. Huns and mongols intended to stay around. They hit the cities first. Once they conquered the cities they had some forms of wealth then they hit countryside for food and THEN generally left the villages alone. They ruled and stayed in the cities to maintain their base of power. Continue...




After they sacked Rome or equivalent for gold, they raided farmland for food.


Uh uh uh, only if they could find the right villages. Only those in their direct line of march. They didnt march all over the Empire going from village to village. They took the low hanging fruit first.



Face it. Longest lifespans weren't much compared to modern times. But those that did live the longest lived in the country and small villages. The manual labor kept the strong alive and going, for the most part, they could survive on what they grew, they didn't live on top of neighbors like in towns and for the most part the sanitation was way better so they mostly avoided the plague, leprosy and other bacterial town based diseases. Longest lifespans = found in the countryside.

Which is why most of the nobility lived in the country on their estates. They had it good, collected taxes from their peasants crops, and didnt have any reason to go into the towns.

Anonymous said...


In fact there is a growing appreciation by police forces everywhere that it's unwise to let black congregate in dense configurations. Too many black people in a confined area is the precursor to a riot. It's better to keep them well dispersed - or sprawled if you prefer.


Yes, but which outlying exurbs really are clamoring for more of them to take into their areas? Not too many. And therein lies the rub. Sprawl for certain kinds of folks and not for others.

And remember: SF never had a large vast black population. It's a 19th century town that grew accordingly with Italians, Irish and Chinese. Blacks weren't a presence until the late 1960s so it was relatively easy to drive them out. Come to think of it, blacks have never been a large presence in CA compared to Latinos Asians and Whites.

ATBOTL said...

The international press is making no mention of race or in most cases, even of the 1967 riot while covering Detroit's bankruptcy. Most non-Americans have no idea that the population of Detroit is over 80% African.

This problem is being presented as one of the US auto industry's decline and maybe a lack of do gooderism on the part of the rest of America.

It's surreal being overseas now and reading/watching this nonsense while explaining to foreigners that Detroit's population looks like the Congo. Most are surpised to learn that there are cities in America that have an African majority.

Mr. Anon said...

"ATBOTL said...

The international press is making no mention of race or in most cases, even of the 1967 riot while covering Detroit's bankruptcy. Most non-Americans have no idea that the population of Detroit is over 80% African."

Many Americans are unaware of these facts too.

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