Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Hail, Columbia! Podcast

As a companion to my City Journal piece Hail, Columbia! that documents the stunning rise of Washington, DC to the point where it appears to be becoming nothing less than the new Second City of America, you can listen to the podcast below in which I discuss the piece with City Journal managing editor Ben Plotinsky. If the podcast player doesn’t appear for you, click here for the raw MP3.

Topics: Demographic Analysis, Economic Development, Globalization, Talent Attraction, Transportation, Urban Culture
Cities: Washington

5 Responses to “Hail, Columbia! Podcast”

  1. Carl Wohlt says:

    Aaron, I think you hit out of the park with the “horizontal / vertical” metaphor as a way to differentiate between the prosperity claimed by various U.S. cities.

    Many bigger brains than mine would probably argue about the meaning behind D.C.’s power as the “regulatory super state.”

    Given the level of capture of the regulatory apparatus by multi-national corporations, one could persuasively say that businesses aren’t being micro-managed out of Washington, but rather the opposite – that businesses are micro-managing Washington.

    To suggest that government is some sort of boogey man plays into the hands of various corporate interests that are spending huge wads of cash on propaganda to convince the American public of this very thing. All the while they are manning the control levers of the most important decisions that affect the economic interests of Main Street America, largely to their detriment. Oz behind the curtain. The track record of middle class decline speaks for itself.

    So, yes, D.C.’s regulatory power is huge. But those benefiting, as they have for three decades, are nation’s wealthiest. The syncopates in D.C. that enable this – both elected officials and public administrators – are merely the public face of this great power.

  2. It would be tough to develop in a city-focused piece, but I believe it’s actually a class of people running things, split across two institutions (big government and big business).

  3. Chris Barnett says:

    Aaron, by “a class of people” do you mean instead “the graduates of a dozen or so elite institutions”?

    Such an education may ultimately be a major determinant of an individual’s social class as an adult, but it is often quite different from their family origins. Cases in point: Presidents Ford, Clinton, and Obama were not raised in wealthy families, yet graduated from Ivy law schools.

  4. Not necessarily an institutional or hereditary elite, but a type of elite nevertheless. I’m not an Occupier type, but the idea of a 1% captures it. It’s a three tier society: 1%, 2-15%, and below 15%. However you get to the 1% or to the 2-15% is irrelevant. Once you are there, you have a class interest with the others and an incentive to sustain the system (revolving door, etc).

  5. Carl Wohlt says:

    Aaron, agree with your observation regarding the class split.

    Regarding cities (and entire regions), Chris Hedges has already given them a label – “Sacrifice Zones::’s-‘sacrifice-zones’/

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Aaron M. Renn is an opinion-leading urban analyst, consultant, speaker, and writer on a mission to help America’s cities thrive and find sustainable success in the 21st century.

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