Stories by Joel Kotkin

  • Generation Screwed

    Generation Screwed

    ‘Boomer America’ never had it so good. As a result, today’s young Americans have never had it so bad.
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    India Conquers the World

    After a long eclipse, an ancient country finally returns as a force in global business and culture.
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    The Top 10 Places in America Poised for Recovery

    Like a massive tornado, the Great Recession upended the topography of America. But even as vast parts of the country were laid low, some cities withstood the storm and could emerge even stronger and shinier than before.
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    The New World Order: A Map

    Tribal ties—race, ethnicity, and religion—are becoming more important than borders.
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    Why the Great Plains Are Great Once Again

    Throughout the good times and, more important, the bad of this new millennium, the cities of the plains—from Dallas in the south through Omaha, Des Moines, and north to Fargo—have enjoyed strong job growth and in-migration from the rest of the country.
  • Kotkin on Populism: Anger Could Make Us Stronger

    The notion of a populist outburst raises an archaic vision of soot-covered industrial workers waving placards. Yet populism is far from dead, and represents a force that could shape our political future in unpredictable ways.People have reasons to be mad, from declining real incomes to mythic levels of greed and excess among the financial elite. Confidence in political and economic institutions remains at low levels, as does belief in the future.The critical issue facing the new administration is finding useful ways to channel this disenchantment. We know popular anger can also be channeled in unproductive ways. It can serve to further a narrow political agenda—for example, Karl Rove's cynical exploitation of the "culture wars"—or stir up a witch hunt against both real and perceived "threats," as occurred during the McCarthy era. If this were Russia, there would be show trials and executions. We do not and should not do that—but we can still use populist anger to reshape our nation...
  • Joel Kotkin: The End of Upward Mobility?

    American society is based on the idea that 'anyone' can reach the top. But the gap between rich and poor is growing, and the ladder seems to be disappearing.
  • Building up the Burbs

    Sorry, city sophisticates, but the metropolis of the future may prove far less intensely urban than you hope. For all the focus on trendy downtowns and skyscrapers, the real growth in jobs and population is likely to take place on the periphery. The new urbanism, built around downtown revival and beloved by the celebrated starchitects, will cede pride of place to the "new suburbanism." And not only in the land of free-ranging suburbs, America.In contrast to the powers who fight "sprawl," advocates of the new suburbanism focus on ways to make the periphery work better. It's about bringing business and jobs, not just bedrooms, to the outer rings, and reviving main streets in smaller towns and cities, not just in major urban centers. In some senses, the new suburbanism seeks to recover the ideals of early advocates of decentralization such as the early-20th-century British visionary Ebenezer Howard, who proposed dispersing populations into largely self-sustaining "garden cities....