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Why Suburbs are Doomed: 1

January 25, 2011 12 comments

I came across an article on some website- Generation Y wants housing Las Vegas has in short supply.

Las Vegas is a little like the American auto companies that made a killing for years on big sport utility vehicles and trucks, only to find themselves unprepared when gasoline prices spiked and consumers turned to smaller, more efficient vehicles — usually from Asian manufacturers.

Begins reasonably enough..

That’s the generation — about 80 million strong, which is larger than the postwar Baby Boom — born from about the mid-1970s to the early 2000s.

There are many definitions of Gen Y- I prefer to see them as kids of baby boomers (1946-1962)

Gen Yers are people ages 15–32 years old in 2009, born between 1977 and 1994.

My age puts me at the very beginning of this definition of Gen Y (parents born in mid 1944 and 1946) and since I live in N. America, that makes me a Gen Y. Anyway, back to the original article.

Her firm asked young renters where they would move to if they had the opportunity. More than 80 percent said they would choose an urban area, or a suburban area that qualified as “urban lite,” such as Arlington, Va., or Bethesda, Md. These are suburbs that feature walkability and easy access to urban amenities.

Then she goes on to say..

To start, at least some of Millennial housing preferences can be explained by life cycle: Sure, they may want the urban experience now, but eventually they’ll marry and have children and want to live near good suburban schools and have a bigger home with a yard. When that happens, they can turn to our highly affordable glut of suburban housing stock.

Did you catch that? She actually believes (like many other women) that these ‘youth’ will eventually settle down and have kids like their parents. So I am going to piss on her argument and a significant part of the mythical “american dream”.

So why did suburbs flourish in post ww2 america?

The reasons are

1. Well paying jobs with considerable career stability. Note the use of ‘career’ not ‘job’.

2. Men marrying women with the expectation of having a stable long-term marriage.

3. Women being able to get larger and larger houses (for status)- first through their husbands rising income, then through double-income families and finally through debt.

4. Government subsidized cars, roads, schools, universities, houses and jobs.

5. Social pressures to keep up with the Joneses.

Today we live in a different world..

a. There are almost no stable careers, let alone jobs. Career trajectories are meaningless in an era where the whim of some moron in management can destroy a lifetimes worth of gain from playing by the rules. The distinction between the so-called ‘real’ jobs (STEM) and make-work jobs (arts) is now meaningless.

b. Education is no longer a means for social mobility. No amount of education can get most people the connections necessary for playing the rigged game. Do you really think that someone from an ivy league is more capable than someone else from a state university?

c. How many women want to date, let alone marry, men who make the same amount (or less)? How many guys are enthusiastic about marriage after seeing the problems faced by their parents generation? Who wants to gift money and houses to lying, cheating, heartless bitches?

d. Where is the income to buy half-million dollars mansions going to come from? Will the income be stable? Why would unmarried guys save for houses to gift their divorced wives, assuming they actually have the income to save? Do you like HOAs, condo associations, nosy and fucked up neighbors? Why care about the school district or backyard size if you have no kids?

e. The government has been sold to the oligarchs. In a previous era the government cared about increasing the living standard of its citizens, even if its motivations were less than altruistic. Today they want to help oligarchs rob and enslave average people.

f. In an age of widespread and easy electronic communication, selecting your peer group to accommodate your tastes is very easy. Combine that with a reduction in the percentage of men with family obligations.

What social pressure?

As I have said before, we can no longer assume that past assumptions (even very basic ones) are valid. If you change basic conditions in complex systems, previous assumptions and projections are no longer valid. Furthermore, no amount of immigration can save the system. Hint- where are the well-paying jobs?

Comments?

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