Many of our cities are collapsing

Summary: Many people worry about economic collapse and civil war, both of which are unlikely. A new crisis has begun, slowly. Probably a smaller one than the more popular apocalypses, but it might become pretty awful: the breakdown of order and solvency in many of our cities.

By Tommy Lowe from Flickr.
By Tommy Lowe from Flickr.

The FBI has a new report out: the Lone Offender Terrorism Report.

“To be included in the current study, offenders must have attempted or completed an act of lethal violence in furtherance of an identified social, political, or ideological goal. While offenders may have affiliated or associated with a terrorist organization/ideological movement or may have received assistance from others at some stage during the planning or implementation of their attacks, they must have been both the primary architect and the primary actor in the attack action. The attack must have occurred within the US and the offender must have radicalized, at least primarily, within the United States.”

They identified 240 cases that broadly meet the criteria during 1972 – 2015, and 93 that specifically meet them. While it is nice that they are addressing this problem, in addition to RussiaGate and Brett M. Kavanaugh’s actions at parties when he was in high school. But there are other things happening in America, things much worse and more serious.

Watch many of America’s cities slide into chaos

Four major American cities are in the Global Top 50 – of homicide rates. We are the only developed nation on the list. Or more accurately, there are no civilized nations on the list. Be proud, America.

Rank City Murders Population per 100k
15 St. Louis 188 311,404 60
23 Baltimore 318 614,664 52
46 Detroit 304 672,795 45
50 New Orleans 174 391,495 44

Other cities have homicide rates in this range: Flint MI, West Memphis AR, Gary IN, Camden NJ, Chester PA, and East St. Louis IL. These cities are just the worst manifestation of the decline of order in some of America’s cities (all of which are run by Democrats). In these areas, key social systems are slowly and inexorably breaking down. For example, see this from CBW Chicago: “Kids, some only 10-years-old, join weekend shoplifting mobs.

“Organized shoplifting teams, some taking advantage of children who appeared to be no more than 10-years-old, struck retailers repeatedly this weekend in the Loop, Magnificent Mile, and Lincoln Park, according to police reports. One crew pepper-sprayed a retail worker. Last Wednesday, another theft team slammed a store employee’s head into a glass merchandise case.

“Retailers are dealing with a wave of organized shoplifting teams that frequently use juveniles to do their dirty work. North Side locations of Forever 21, H&M, Ulta Beauty, DSW, Patagonia, and Burlington have been struck repeatedly – sometimes twice within hours. …Theft crews struck at least four downtown stores last Wednesday evening. …”

In California, as in Chicago, small scale crime – below the felony dollar limit – has become increasingly like an epidemic. Since this becomes a catch-and-release merry-go-round, police have little interest in playing. So people have little interest in reporting these thefts, except for business or insurance reasons – and the police records do not fully capture the increase in crime rates.

The loss of public order is at an advanced state in San Francisco, after decades of Leftist social engineering. See the horrific details here.

There is, of course, a growing political dimension to the violence. The Left’s experience on college campuses taught them that sympathetic authorities would allow them to suppress their opponents with violence. Now they are applying those lessons on a larger scale. See Andy Ngo’s reporting of Antifa’s violence. Of special interest is the lack of coverage this gets from the major media, and journalists’ indifference to Antifa’s attacks on him.

The next phase

The next two decades will see one of the most significant transitions in US history, as scores of State and local governments that have been long run by the Democratic Party collapse. Some States will default (in the US, States are sovereign – they can and have defaulted on loans but do not file “bankruptcy”). Many local governments will file for bankruptcy. Those with lavish but underfunded pensions will be the most likely to go broke.

A severe recession will make these bankruptcies more likely. The accompanying stock market crash will help sink many pension plans.

Some cities will crash due to social instability from a growing underclass (fed by open borders), eroding political legitimacy, massive middle-class flight, and mad public policies (e.g., in education and maintaining public order). San Francisco is likely a candidate for this, unless severe changes are made soon. Others will follow.

The combination of financial and social stress will make both worse, and can easily overwhelm a region’s leaders.

The State and Federal governments can provide aid. But the political divide will make that difficult. Will the socially and fiscally stable GOP-run regions fund help to the burning Democratic-run regions? Especially since this will bailout the Democrat’s failed social engineering projects. If they do, will they demand policy changes (“reforms”) in exchange for help?

All of this could be handled by a rational people having a high degree of national cohesion. We will find out if America meets that description. We failed such a test in 1860. We passed in the 1930s and 1940s, and again in the 1960s and 1970s. But past successes do not guarantee future success.

We are beginning a period of interesting times.

For More Information

Ideas! For shopping ideas, see my recommended books and films at Amazon. Also, see Chapter One of a story about our future: “Ultra Violence: Tales from Venus.

About State pension plans (the local ones are in worse shape).

If you found this post of use, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about Republicans and Democrats, about the Left and the Right, about forecasts, about ways to reform America politics, and especially these…

  1. If we get through this, America might be on the verge of another great boom.
  2. About stories of the coming civil war (our third) – It is not going to happen.
  3. The Democrats will own America. Their past will sink them.
  4. Visions of America if the Left wins.
  5. The Left hates America and will destroy it.
  6. The Democrats show us the politics of ClownWorld.
  7. Two levers to bring the Democrats victory in 2020.
  8. Stoking hatred in America for political gain.
  9. The Left’s bold plans for America – and the coming crash.

Two books to help us understand our time

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, the great classic by Charles Mackay (1841).

The March of Folly: From Troy to Vietnam by Barbara W. Tuchman (1984).

Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds
Available at Amazon.
March of Folly
Available at Amazon.

 

38 thoughts on “Many of our cities are collapsing”

  1. Fixable.
    I remember when NYC was on the list.
    I also remember deep potholes on Fifth Avenue
    Put Rudy on the cleanup job

    1. Abdullaye,

      Nothing happened unique in NYC. Crime rates declined across the nation at roughly similar rates, for reasons not yet clear. The long economic expansion since 1983 restored the health of NYC and other major cities. There is no reason to believe that “Rudy” did anything special.

      It appears – tentatively – that a new cycle began in 2008 for some major cities – most or all of whom are governed by the Democratic Party. This is a policy-driven decline, so it is both fixable and unlikely to be easily fixed.

      1. Larry- while i loved your post, and usually agree with most of them in general, i must respectfully disagree with what you say here.

        I lived in NYC back then and remember it clearly. it was only until they gave the police the power to work against crime that it finally came to a stop, slowly. While it has gotten a bad name, the broken windows philosophy of Bratton, worked. Stop question and frisk reduced guns and violence on the streets. Compstat was used to direct police to neighborhoods with increased crime, to match the manpower with the actual activity. Not perfect, and perhaps other factors were involved, however broken windows is a real evidence based policy. And the stop and frisk which is so maligned as racist, actually occurred because the majority of crimes in most cities occurred in minority neighborhoods, meaning that most of the police civilian interactions, and almost all of the violent ones, occurred involving minorities (>80% homicides, rapes, etc had minority perpetrators, and almost all the victims were of the same race). If you send cops to where the crimes are, where do you think they will end up. Also, arresting and prosecuting for “quality of life” crimes that made a neighborhood less appealing also made the neighborhoods generally safer. Despite what the politically correct left now says (we’re all racist anyway, so we might as well speak up about it i guess)

      2. Barry,

        I don’t understand what you are saying. I gave the simple fact that the decline in crime in NYC was like that of the rest of the nation. So there is no basis for attributing it to Rudy. Rudy did not run any other area, yet those other areas did on average as well as NYC.

        It is not well understood why crime increased or decreased, although there are many theories. That it decreased across the nation – in regions with quite different policing tactics and methods – suggests that some larger factor was at work.

      3. I think it was the freakonomics guy, but someone claimed with research that legal abortion reduced crime by eliminating children that were unwanted and presumably would grow up criminal.

        I cant comment if its valid theory.

      4. Sven,

        Lots of inspired guessing about the causes of the rise and fall of the crime wave. Social dynamics are among the most complex of scientific phenomena. The guessing is fun but doesn’t help us set rational public policy.

        The rise and fall of lead exposure is another interesting theory.

  2. Abdullaye-

    yes, fixable, however the problem is that no one will fix it. California’s woes (wildfires, droughts, problems with electric lines) are all directly the results of public policies implemented by a single party state (I will leave the party to your imagination) however no one there gets it – they blame the power company (corporate greed) which in reality and fact has had its hands tied for decades being held to ridiculous mandates, in one of the most regulated states anywhere.

    So people who can leave do, but they bring their idiot ideas to where they move, rather than recognizing that it was they themselves by their voting patterns that cause the problems. And who is left? (pun not intended, but it works)

    The rich and the poor. The rich can afford private guards, enclosed compounds, private schools, and are thus insulated from their votes and financial support, and the poor vote for their plantation keepers who have now developed a complicated poverty industrial complex that works to keep people in servitude and misery rather than getting them jobs, and rebuilding their families, etc.

    When it gets bad enough, perhaps the African American community will again come back to the demands for better policing, a war on crime like the last time, however they have conveniently forgotten that it was them who ushered it in, since the primary victims of the massive increase in crime were their own communities. Afraid to walk out at night, murder and mayhem everywhere, people living in your building’s foyer with no one to remove them. Things come full cycle, too bad we don’t learn from our mistakes. And if we vote in the Bolsheviks, then heaven save us for real (check out who was just elected attorney general for san francisco)…

    But tell that to our kids who think this is just hunky dory, and that they (the bolsheviks) will fix everything after they get rid of student debt, make healthcare and college free for everyone, give everyone a living wage for doing nothing, and so on. Who wouldn’t take that deal? Until we are Venezuela Redux, or Russia Redux, or China after Mao redux… and on and on, but why bother to read history, our schools are too busy castigating our European / western heritage as colonizers, genociders, appropriators, and white supremacists to bother to teach anyone real math, history, real literature (e.g. the classics?). i could go on, but i have already taken to much bandwidth while venting. thanks for reading this far.

    1. Barry,

      Nicely said. But you are more optimistic than I.

      For example, the African American community in many areas has evolved to consider criminals their friends and police their foes. Black Lives Matters became a love affair with criminals who, in a better world, would have their mothers advocating for life in prison. Now many want the police defunded in favor of social services (which sounds like the setup for a bad joke), low-level crime (theft < $1000) decriminalized, and police delegitimized.

      This won’t end well. What comes after I’ll leave to people who enjoy making wild guesses.

      1. Charlie,

        Now that’s something to ponder. It is, however, maximum depressing – for several reasons. The transition from apartheid was peaceful, with much hope on both sides for better days. The results have been, to put it mildly, disappointing.

  3. “Will the socially and fiscally stable GOP-run regions–”

    Which ones are those? Perhaps Texas or Georgia or North Carolina? They all receive more tax money than they pay out (though I know that chart is, to a certain extent, ultimately about the location of military bases) –And I would say that these places may not be rock-ribbed GOP fortresses forever.

    1. SF,

      Almost all regions in the US are socially and fiscally stable. There are, as in every large nation, poor areas – but that’s a different metric.

      Perhaps you are comparing the US with Heaven. Heaven is better, but you must die to get there.

  4. Larry, I have to agree with the dissenters on this one. First, I commend you on raising some valid points but this is a complicated topic, too large for a 1,000 word post to do it justice.

    This is the second (or third) round of such problems in the last 50 years. I studied the previous round (1978-1995 roughly) when it occurred. You comment “Almost all regions in the US are socially and fiscally stable,” which is not quite as true as I’d like, but is much better than during the second round (I would argue that the first round occurred during the Vietnam war but there were so many other things going on at that time that I could easily be wrong).

    As near as I (and the experts I was reading at the time) could determine, the primary causes of the very real problems you describe were:
    1. An excess number of teenagers and people in their early twenties compared to 5 years previous. This age group is far more likely to get into trouble with the law for vandalism, drug use, alcohol consumption, and petty theft. The OODA loop of the authorities tends to be slower than the OODA loop of the criminals who take advantage of the disaffected young people. How much slower determines the severity and the length of the problem.

    Domestic policy, both nation-wide and at the local level is perceived by the younger generation to be tilted against them (usually correctly) and some of the young people decide to take things for a living. In the prior two occasions I’ve noted above, the primary problems were a lack of jobs and housing and larger social issues distracting the authorities from those problems (it is embarrassing to be 22 years old and not have a job or your own place to live, I speak from experience on this one). Only a tiny minority of the people affected strike out in this way but it is usually a lot more than the cops can handle.
    Some new recreational drug or anarchist philosophy has become popular with the younger people.

    Last time is was crack cocaine, the time before that was part of the early 70’s drug culture and push-back to the Vietnam War. The need for quick cash or a nihilistic philosophy pushes young people over the line that keeps them afraid of the consequences of their actions. I suspect the opioid crisis is at least part of the problem this time.

    The last time this problem occurred it was solved by the local authorities (because the Feds were WAY too busy blaming the local authorities to be helpful) in the following manner:
    a) Create jobs and job training programs

    b) As noted above by one of your other readers, increase the size of the police force and allow the police to become non-violently more aggressive (this causes more problems in the long run but was curtailed in most cities after the main problem was solved and before this behavior became a major problem in its own right)

    c) THE KEY WAY THE PROBLEM WAS SOLVED WAS TIME. The young people were either jailed for long periods of time (a very small percentage of the people involved, but usually over-represented by racial minorities) or found jobs and housing that met their needs so they went on with their lives.

    While this happened in quite a large number of cities, the primary cities involved last time were:
    1. Minneapolis (also known as Murderapolis at the time)
    2. New York City (I’ve often wondered how many times this problem has occurred in NYC)
    3. Chicago
    4. Los Angeles

    Minneapolis and New York City used the methods I described to climb out of the pit. Los Angeles was less successful but aided by a lot of people wanting to move to the city at that time (which caused other problems in the long term). Only Chicago has continued to have problems but I haven’t had the time or the resources to study it in depth to understand why.

    I could not find online references to most of the sources I used at the time (this was before the web was a useful resource) but the below links are a good start:
    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/weekly-standard/return-to-murderapolis
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_New_York_City
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Chicago
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_Los_Angeles

    1. Pluto,

      Lots of aggressive guessing in that, which I won’t comment on. But you misunderstand what I said about one key point. I said:

      “All of this could be handled by a rational people having a high degree of national cohesion. We will find out if America meets that description. We failed such a test in 1860. We passed in the 1930s and 1940s, and again in the 1960s and 1970s.”

      That’s about a people’s ability to handle severe social disruptions. In the 1960s and 1970s we had giant race riots – with troops occupying our inner cities each year, waves of political violence (thousands of bombings), political and social polarization beyond anything seen today, the anti-war protests, the removal of a president, massive fiscal problems (knocking the US off the gold standard), and bankruptcy of major cities (eg, NYC).

      You said: “This is the second (or third) round of such problems in the last 50 years. I studied the previous round (1978-1995 roughly) when it occurred”

      That crime wave was a dot compared to the three waves of problems I describe.

    2. I didn’t miss your point, Larry, I disagree with it.

      I do not believe we are going to go through the massive disruptions you described and included information about previous waves. As in the past, I will certainly admit that I’m not foolproof but I didn’t see anything in your article that suggests this is worse than the 1978-1995 era that you argue was relatively minor.

      However, I still maintain that this topic is way too large to communicate in a 1000 word post so that may be part of the problem.

      1. Pluto,

        “I didn’t see anything in your article that suggests this is worse than the 1978-1995 era that you argue was relatively minor.”

        That era did not have the widespread defaults/bankruptcies of State and local governments. The last time we had that was during the 1873 – 1896 Long Depression (8 States defaults). But that was a mostly economic phenomenon, without massive social turmoil (ie, there were big social changes, but done relatively quietly). Government’s going broke were a very big deal in the 19th century, when governments were small. Now governments are gigantic, and their going broke will be a big big deal – no matter how they are resolved.

        Every period of turmoil is unique. This one will be spotty – in regions (unless it spreads), with both severe economic and social disruptions in the affected areas. As such, it is likely to be more severe than the 1970s-1990s crime wave (which will soon be forgotten). With luck, it won’t be as severe as the big three events – which were existential (or potentially existential) challenges to the Republic.

      2. Since Pluto, who is better informed than most, did not see the significance of the State and Local debt problem – then most readers probably didn’t.

        The debt loads are (hopefully) well known. I added links to reports giving the hard numbers – and terrifying news – about those States with weak or doomed pension plans. There is also a website with information on local pension plans in California – many with mindblowing liabilities.

        As most of these reports mention, the official numbers usually understate the problem because their return assumptions are too high.

        The first boomers turned 65 in 2011. Those born in 1955, the peak year, turn 65 next year. It’s too late to save the worst plans. All we can do is prepare to mitigate the damage from them, and work for soft defaults of the weak plans.

      3. Private pension plans are all doomed Demographics will see to it. The solution is that the Federal Government will be forced to take them over.. TINA.

      4. John,

        Math disagrees with you. Try talking to an actuary doing pension design, or read a textbook. Like any financing mechanism, pensions must be fully funded in order to work properly. Just like cars don’t run without fuel.

        You make confident statements about matters you know nothing about. Sad, really.

    3. Thank you for the links, Larry. You were correct when you said that I had underestimated the effects. I’m going to have to think about this for a while…

      You were also correct when you said that each period of turmoil is unique.

      Side note, I had a pension plan for exactly one week in my entire career. The company I worked for was bought out at that point and the pension plan was liquidated by the new owners to help reduce the mountain of debt they took on to purchase the company (this was in the 1980’s before laws preventing that sort of abuse were written).

      At the time it was upsetting, but since then I built a nice diversified portfolio of 401(k) and IRA money that I never touched for other purposes and am going to have a good retirement when I finally get around to it. A lack of a pension might have been the kindest thing they ever did for me.

  5. Yes, I see Chester PA, gets a dishonorable mention. I pumped gas at the corner of 22nd and Edgemont Ave., fifty years ago.

    It was a nice town. Now, you don’t travel through there at night without a gun. Ford Motor Company closed their plant, suburban sprawl and shopping malls replaced down town stores.

    People moved out, they followed the jobs to other places. Undesirables moved in, welfare people, bringing with them drugs, guns, crime, broken family units, etc.etc.

    The politicians thought building a casino and soccer stadium on the Delaware river next to the city would revitalize it…Pffft.

    1. Ron,

      That’s an important point I didn’t mention: many (not all) of these Democrat-run cities have had both misfortune and generations of awful governance.

      I come from upstate NY, which had both mind-blowingly corrupt and incompetent government AND brutal organized crime networks.

      When I left Buffalo in 1973, there was a wave of fires in barber shops. Most of them were small owner-operated shops. A group of them decided they did not need membership in their expensive union. They were quickly reminded about its benefits.

      The police were uninterested.

      Attempts at civic revitalization (eg, an expensive one in Syracuse) were little more than ribbons on systematic graft – with no effort to grapple with the region’s core problems. Building stadiums and conference centers were popular boondoggles.

      Nobody with half a brain would open a business there. All those hundreds of nice cities died, like roses in the winter. I hear that many of them have since hit rock bottom and begun a modest recovery.

      1. Ron,

        The PR agency that planted that article earned their money. All smoke, boosterism for the last “let’s blow public money into somebody’s pocket” and setting up the next round.

        No mention of the many studies showing that building stadiums is not an effective use of public money.

  6. Larry,

    If you’re interested in a comparison between a US city with high crime rates – Memphis – and an European city with much lower crime rates despite lenient laws – Lisbon – check the research article below (let me know if it’s gated for you). The violent crime rate is five times lower in Lisbon, and the murder rate is 15 times lower; gun crime is virtually non-existent, and Portugal is ranked the safest country in the world.

    Portuguese crime laws are very lenient, in line with what you describe for California. Petty theft (<500$) is a misdemeanor, possession of all drugs for personal use is decriminalized, first-time offenders usually get suspended jail sentences, etc. Police presence is normal but their attitude is relatively relaxed. Despite this, I feel safe almost everywhere in Lisbon (where I live), almost all the time, even in my lower-class neighborhood; so our approach seems to work.

    The author thinks that the main difference between Lisbon and Memphis is that crime in Lisbon is treated as a social ill, so the focus is on preventing social exclusion and reintegration of criminals; while Memphis treats crime as an external problem to society which must be stopped, so criminals are pariahs and a law enforcement problem.

    I only partially agree. I think we have a very cohesive society in Portugal and Lisbon; cultural diversity is low, immigration is limited (4%), and our culture has a strong emphasis on respect for each other and the common good. So I think we can afford a lenient approach on theft and drug use, as law enforcement is only the last step of a series of crime-prevention measures which start with social controls. Memphis is more diverse (says the author) so possibly it has less social cohesion and cannot afford to be lenient, at least with less integrated communities where law enforcement is the only step in crime prevention.

    Some crimes are socially acceptable in Portugal, e.g. tax evasion (only if you’re poor, but everyone thinks they’re poor…) or traffic violations (only if you’re working and “very busy”, but again…), and here our laws are harsh and our law enforcement is aggressive. Here we can’t afford to be lenient. So I think social cohesion and social attitudes towards crime play a large role on the type of attitude you need to address to fight crime. From what you describe, California does not have the social structure it needs to make these lenient laws work, even if they have worked elsewhere.

    JP
    https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Simone_Tulumello/publication/316115844_The_Multiscalar_Nature_of_Urban_Security_and_Public_Safety/links/5bf1df0c4585150b2bc117a8/The-Multiscalar-Nature-of-Urban-Security-and-Public-Safety.pdf

    1. JP,

      Thank you for that info!

      The function of laws is not well understood in America. In homogeneous societies, cultural norms rule, so the role of the police is smaller.

      Portugal is 95% Portuguese, with the other 5% being a diverse group (none large enough to become alternative power centers or an difficult underclass).

      Its police force is approx 22 thousand – vs. 53 thousand for the NYPD (which is supported by the NY State Police plus Federal FBI and DEA).

      That cultural difference allows Portugal to get by with its lenient laws and few police. Not the other way around.

      Also, whatever the leniency of Portugal’s laws, its police are willing and able to use force to keep its small underclass under control.

      https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2019/jan/31/lisbons-bad-week-police-brutality-reveals-portugals-urban-reality

      1. Larry,

        I completely agree with you on cultural norms. Of course Portuguese police has to be willing and able to use force for laws to have meaning, otherwise it would be easy to abuse the system. But I don’t think that the “underclass” is kept in line by police violence; the problem exists but the Guardian exaggerates the issue (as usual) and misses the main point – social norms have been much more effective in keeping the underclasses in line, and are much more difficult to change (although things are evolving).

        Do you think that these kind of cultural norms which help laws work in a homogeneous society can be promoted in a diverse society like the US? Do you think it would be desirable? It would be easy to cross the line into totalitarianism, and start enforcing rules on personal behavior… Or is it too difficult or too late?

        I lived for a while in the Netherlands, and they seem to be able to keep lenient laws and a relaxed police force despite 20% immigration and a lot of internal diversity. There, I felt a lot of pressure to follow a few rules in public spaces, but nobody cared at all about my personal life, how I dressed, etc. I found it a balanced approach, but my friends in Germany and Austria tell me that there is a lot more social control about what you do in your personal life.

        JP

      2. JP,

        “Do you think that these kind of cultural norms which help laws work in a homogeneous society can be promoted in a diverse society like the US?”

        No. Our official doctrine is multiculturalism. The assimilation mechanisms that worked so well for earlier waves of immigration are illegal.

        “in the Netherlands, and they seem to be able to keep lenient laws and a relaxed police force despite 20% immigration and a lot of internal diversity.”

        Not so. Looking at it from a cultural perspective. Per Wikipedia, as of 2019 – Holland was 76% Dutch. More broadly, 88% european (including American, Canada, & Australia). In America, 73% is white (ie, from Europe -west and east, plus others) – a number rapidly shrinking.

  7. The other issue is refugees from democrat strongholds voting in democrat in former red states.

    No hint of self-awareness.

    1. info,

      That is a big factor, and getting bigger. They stream out from California to better-run areas, with no awareness that their beliefs are responsible for California’s problems. Failure to Learn is imo America’s greatest weakness.

      1. Indeed. A lot of these California emigres fled to Texas, usually to Austin, Houston, Dallas, the sprawling upward cities or their suburbs. And that is probably doing as much, if not more, to change Texas politically as Hispanic immigration.

  8. We are the only developed nation on the list.

    Really? A bit surprising. I thought some Western European cities really deteriorated in past couple decades. But maybe that’s only for non-homicide crimes?

    For American west coast cities that presented themselves as thriving progressive metropolises, there were allegations of hypocrisy leveled against them by both left and right. That is, critics accused these jurisdictions of claiming to be enlightened and egalitarian, but that they practiced gentrification, tough policing, being inhospitable to the homeless, etc. While these criticisms came from different motives across the political spectrum, they were to some extent true. Despite platitudes of equality and caring for the least of their residents, progressive cities did practice some form of NIMBY-ism with regards to homeless, drug addicts, petty crime and other “undesirable” elements. Even some liberal cities had a reputation for tough policing. Whether this was because of a disconnect between local politicians and the careerist civil servants or just the politicians being two-faced, I don’t know.

    But now that places like San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, etc. are actually “practicing what they preach,” we see the price of cities being true to their leftist principles. Residents are besieged by vagrants, drug addicts, petty criminals and the like, while the local government’s ineffectiveness is its official policy. So residents are resorting to desperate measures of self-help.

    https://www.cnn.com/2019/09/30/us/san-francisco-homeless-boulders-removed-trnd/index.html

    San Francisco is becoming an open air sewer.

    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/3k45py/san-fransiscos-homeless-crisis-is-now-a-poop-crisis

    Despite this decline in quality of life and lawful services, San Francisco remains prohibitively expensive and is only getting worse. Since real estate and housing are at such a premium, an obvious solution is to increase the supply. But because of its policies, that is virtually impossible in places like San Francisco.

    This is not tenable for middle-class or upwardly mobile families who haven’t yet established themselves. Those who are wealthy can possibly afford more insulation and private conveniences to fill the breach. But at some point, even rich yuppies have to walk and drive on the same streets.

    Even if we accept that all homeless people are in their current situation because of sympathetic reasons like mental illness and drug addiction, that does not make their behaviors good and acceptable for a functioning community. And mentally ill or not, when people realize that police are reluctant or unable to use force against them, they know they can act with impunity and admit as much. One disruptive man can occupy dozens of first responders and shut down a block for hours.

    One news station in Seattle decided to make a documentary about its current plight.

    And to think, a perfunctory two-bedroom home in a suburb on the outskirts of Seattle costs more than a million dollars.

    1. Durasim,

      “I thought some Western European cities really deteriorated in past couple decades.”

      Yes, but from very low rates. London’s rate has risen – to 1.6 per 100k in 2017, vs. Chicago’s 24.1 (source).

      “And mentally ill or not, when people realize that police are reluctant or unable to use force against them, they know they can act with impunity”

      Yes, that is the key point ignored by liberals.

      See the links in the For More Information for more about the things you discuss, from more authoritative sources.

  9. Random Angeleno

    Politics and law enforcement are downstream from culture and culture in turn is downstream from the degree to which we experience cohesiveness across our demographics.

    So the contrast between Portugal and our major cities.

    A couple of markers:
    check out the liberalization in California around the enforcement of some laws. Significant is the one about theft if the value of the items taken is less than $1000. Practical effect is that the criminals know this so they go breaking into cars and shoplifting, but making sure what they take is under $950. For which they get a slap on the wrist and don’t serve time. I have already seen my local grocery stores take new measures to foil the shoplifters. On NextDoor.com, I can find regular complaints regarding car breakins. Think there were about 25000 car breakins in San Francisco last year. The police don’t bother to investigate these anymore. One has to catch the thieves redhanded in the act.

    Speaking of SF, check out their newly elected DA. smdh

  10. https://www.populationinstitute.org/external/files/reports/The_Perfect_Storm_Scenario_for_2030.pdf

    Provides the type of economic, social and environmental situation Policy makers and Heads of Business see as possible/probable. I am no greenie, I just see Africa (N and S), Asia, India and Pakistan will be trying to get into EU and US at many multiple of the numbers now happening.

    India is fed by the Punjab and water is getting scare, the scenarios there don’t look good.

    As Henry Kissinger said “If You Can’t Hear the Drums of War You Must Be Deaf”

    https://www.globalresearch.ca/accurate-satire-henry-kissinger-if-you-can-t-hear-the-drums-of-war-you-must-be-deaf/28610

    We can turn it round, I think this is a useful You Tube to watch and think about.

    I do also think Martin Armstrong has some points in his models to the 2030’s

    http://www.economicconfidencemodels.com/

    We at at or near the top of the roller coaster ride, the downward leg will be frightening.

    1. Just a Guy,

      There is obviously a big demand for doomster scenarios. They no longer even try to make them plausible, any more than Hollywood’s horror films explain where all the zombies come from.

      While it is interesting to wonder why we like this nonsense, I’ve grown bored with refuting each new doomster report. It’s a waste of time.

      So, while it is true that many many things could go very wrong, many things could go right. Or the Yellowstone supervolcano – or the one under Naples harbor – could erupt and give us a real problem to worry about. Or perhaps we could worry about the high probability problems facing us, although they have the terrible flaw of being less useful to our rulers.

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