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The Dehumanizing Tyranny of Densification

A filing cabinet of human lives Where people swarm like bees in tunneled hives, Each to his own cell in the covered comb, Identical and cramped — we call it home. – Apartment House, by Gerald Raftery

The conventional wisdom among America’s liberals, often seconded and almost never challenged by conservatives, is that population growth in the United States should be channeled as much as possible into the footprint of existing cities. Surrounding cities should be “greenbelts,” suburban growth should be rejected as unsustainable “sprawl,” and human settlement in areas defined as the “urban/wildland interface” should be discouraged and whenever possible reversed.

This movement towards increasing the population density of cities and reducing population in rural areas is already enshrined in numerous state laws in California, and is quietly rolling across the rest of the nation. It is marketed as enlightened, environmentally sustainable urban planning, but this moral pretext obscures a self-serving density agenda that is shared by several powerful special interests. Among all the misanthropic trends in public policy that threaten the freedom and prosperity of ordinary Americans, the density agenda is probably the least discussed.

Before considering how population densification serves the interests of America’s economic and political elites, it’s important to recognize how it will fundamentally undermine the ability of American individuals and communities to retain their freedom and independence. You don’t have to reference Agenda 2030 – about which it is now almost impossible to find any negative commentary online – to understand […] Read More

California’s Density Delusion

The ability for American workers to enjoy middle class lifestyles has been eroding for decades. Conventional explanations abound. American industry in the immediate aftermath of World War II was uniquely unscathed, and with a near monopoly on global manufacturing, was able to pass much of their ample profits on to workers. It wasn’t until the 1970’s that American manufacturers confronted serious foreign competition, and ever since, the competition has just gotten more intense.

By the 1990’s the electronic movement of capital along with trade agreements such as NAFTA turned national labor forces into commodities. And at the same time as American industry was going international, America’s laws were changed to favor mass immigration of unskilled workers who competed for jobs with native workers, driving down wages. These immigrants were also far more dependent on government services compared to previous generations of immigrants, putting stress on government budgets.

Export jobs. Import welfare recipients. No wonder America’s middle class is withering away. But this conventional explanation, however accurate, is only half the story. Yes, for whatever reason, average Americans work harder and earn less today than their predecessors. And the process has been relentless. Every decade since the 1950’s has seen an American workforce making less than they made during the preceding decade. But they are not just making less – things are costing more.

At first glance, this seems counterintuitive. Not everything costs more. Using the consumer price index (CPI) as a yardstick, and adjusting for performance – a modern flat […] Read More