Entries by Joel Kotkin

The Two Middle Classes

by Joel Kotkin — Politicians across the Western world like to speak fondly of the “middle class” as if it is one large constituency with common interests and aspirations. But, as Karl Marx observed, the middle class has always been divided by sources of wealth and worldview. Today, it is split into two distinct, and often opposing, middle classes.

Demographic Undestiny

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

The Growth Dilemma

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

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

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

The Good Life, Just Beyond

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