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Old Posted Dec 23, 2017, 12:33 AM
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What Happens When the Richest US Cities Turn to the World?

This is a theme that I've seen for a long time. We're in a new age of city-states, or should be...

What Happens When the Richest U.S. Cities Turn to the World?
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/22/u...cal-links.html


Apologies for not posting text, I'm posting from an iPhone.
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Old Posted Dec 23, 2017, 12:50 AM
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hmm, what does 'turn to the world' mean? Are Miami, New York, SF not globalized enough yet?
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Old Posted Dec 23, 2017, 1:07 AM
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I feel that Miami is the most overt "international" city in the US.

Even NYC and LA, with their large immigrant populations, still have an "American" feel that encompasses their entire culture and business atmosphere. Same with SF and the Bay Area.

Miami, more so now, functions and continues to grow rapidly in influence because of Cubans, other Latin Americans, and Europeans. Those people essentially rule the city and put the most money into it.
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Old Posted Dec 23, 2017, 2:13 AM
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Originally Posted by dc_denizen View Post
hmm, what does 'turn to the world' mean? Are Miami, New York, SF not globalized enough yet?
It means looking even moreso to peer cities around the world, rather than their own hinterlands.

This is the world today. A New Yorker or Londoner (myself included) has more friends and contacts in Shanghai or Buenos Aires than in Illinois (outside of Chicago) or the north of England.

The world is increasingly a network of cities, not countries. Outside of cities, and I mean major cities, nothing of consequence really happens.
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There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." - Isaac Asimov
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Old Posted Dec 23, 2017, 2:18 AM
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Small towns in theory could do this too. For example a while back I heard about how some Georgia town found a market in manufacturing and selling chopsticks to China since wood was abundant in forested Georgia but hard to come by in China.

An American small town with a successful industry can still in theory bypass trade with a big city to trade with an international partner just like a big city can bypass the small town to trade internationally.
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Old Posted Dec 23, 2017, 2:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
It means looking even moreso to peer cities around the world, rather than their own hinterlands.

This is the world today. A New Yorker or Londoner (myself included) has more friends and contacts in Shanghai or Buenos Aires than in Illinois (outside of Chicago) or the north of England.

The world is increasingly a network of cities, not countries. Outside of cities, and I mean major cities, nothing of consequence really happens.
I think that's incorrect.

Many major cities have become too expensive except as housing for a globalized class of rich financialized people. See: Vancouver, London, etc. Many of this nouveau riche class hail from the developing world, and oftentimes display a shocking lack of class and refinement, along with a taste for a gaudy, materialistic lifestyle.

The real science, art and culture of consequence today is often being produced in non-globalized cities and towns, where housing is far cheaper and financial markets are not the focal point of life and happiness.
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Old Posted Dec 23, 2017, 3:49 AM
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I don't think I agree that being globally connected means prosperity. Detroit has a very globally connected economy and is obviously not the picture of prosperity. I think the key to whether or not your city is doing good is how connected it is to the information economy.
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Old Posted Dec 23, 2017, 4:04 AM
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I don't think I agree that being globally connected means prosperity. Detroit has a very globally connected economy and is obviously not the picture of prosperity. I think the key to whether or not your city is doing good is how connected it is to the information economy.
Nothing about this comment makes any sense.
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Old Posted Dec 23, 2017, 4:54 AM
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Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
A New Yorker or Londoner (myself included) has more friends and contacts in Shanghai or Buenos Aires than in Illinois (outside of Chicago) or the north of England.
The idea that most New Yorkers or Londoners are like this is laughable. I, living in Baltimore, have more friends in Mililani or Harrogate or Fayetteville than I do on the Eastern Shore or Maryland Panhandle. But I'm not silly enough to think that's commonplace.
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Old Posted Dec 23, 2017, 6:55 AM
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Originally Posted by The North One View Post
Nothing about this comment makes any sense.
Thank you for your constructive response.
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  #11  
Old Posted Dec 23, 2017, 9:31 AM
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Originally Posted by dc_denizen View Post
I think that's incorrect.

Many major cities have become too expensive except as housing for a globalized class of rich financialized people. See: Vancouver, London, etc. Many of this nouveau riche class hail from the developing world, and oftentimes display a shocking lack of class and refinement, along with a taste for a gaudy, materialistic lifestyle.

The real science, art and culture of consequence today is often being produced in non-globalized cities and towns, where housing is far cheaper and financial markets are not the focal point of life and happiness.
That depends how you define consequence. A lot of consequence happens in university towns, if we're talking about things that actually lead to human progress. I was using it in a different sense, referring to the intersection of wealth and power.
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Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 2:41 AM
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i think city-states are the most natural economic arrangement across the world and across time since the rise of recorded civilisation. many american states don't make any sense as economic units, and often their governors don't properly represent the most critical business interests in the states located in the cities, and putter around a lot with rural special interests for political reasons.

my london based company tried arranging our u.s. operations into state units and it lasted about a month, and nobody abided by it because it was a joke...

it's cities that talk to each other across the world in business...i'm dealing with say adelaide for a specific reason pertaining to that city or something near it (or some specialization). very often i do turn to people in far flung non-u.s. cities for technical expertise, not the next city over.

i'm drunk so this kind of fell flat but yes it should be all city-states.
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Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 7:14 AM
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SAN FRANCISCO — Well before anyone thought of this place as the center of the tech economy, the Bay Area built ships. And it did so with the help of many parts of the country.

Douglas fir trees logged in the Pacific Northwest were turned into lumber schooners here. Steel from the East, brought in by railroad, became merchant vessels. During World War II, workers assembled battleships with parts from across the country: steam turbines from Schenectady, N.Y., and Lester, Pa.; gear winches from Tacoma, Wash.; radio equipment from Newark; compasses from Detroit; generators from Milwaukee.

Most of these links that tied the Bay Area’s prosperity to a web of places far from here have faded.
This was true of a particular period in Bay Area history but there has been a "before" as well as an after. "Before", San Francisco entreprenuers built those railroads (at least as far eastward as Colorado) that later brought the manufactured parts for the ships and built them largely not with labor from the heartland but with labor imported from China (maybe the same places in China that now build iphones). And San Francisco was already wealthy from gold mined (or panned) in the nearby "gold country" of the Sierra foothills and the silver mines of Nevada on the other side of the same mountain range. And it was already connected to the east by the stage coaches of Wells Fargo which is a Bay Area native.

Before that even, California had a prosperous ranching economy as part of "New Spain" but had virtually no connection with the Anglophne nation to its east.

So yeah, for maybe 50-75 years out of it's 300+ years history in the hands of Europeans, the Bay Area's economy was unusally tied to heartland cities. But that isn't how the city got rich and it was a transient thing.
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Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 7:28 AM
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Originally Posted by dc_denizen View Post
The real science, art and culture of consequence today is often being produced in non-globalized cities and towns, where housing is far cheaper and financial markets are not the focal point of life and happiness.
Art and culture has pretty much always been the product of the surplus wealth of the rich and it still is. It's not an accident that San Francisco has an orchestra, a ballet company, and an opera company among the top 5 nationally and arguably #2 after New York in some of those categories (which is pretty good for a city 1/10 the size of New York). It's true because its cutural institutions are still solvent . . . because its wealthy citizens contribute. In fact, places like Detroit and Cleveland could have said the same when they were rich based on manufacturing, but those days are past (Detroit was even thinking of selling its art collection, amassed in the hayday, to pay off some of its debt--I don't recall if it actually did).

Science tends to be different because it's often the product of universities put where they are by individual wealthy donors. I went to one--Duke--that was established in a nowhere burg in North Carolina on the whim of the richest family in that state who got rich off of its dominant industry. But that one family wasn't rich enough to also make Durham a hub of culture and art which it certainly wasn't during the period of my schooling.
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Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by cannedairspray View Post
The idea that most New Yorkers or Londoners are like this is laughable. I, living in Baltimore, have more friends in Mililani or Harrogate or Fayetteville than I do on the Eastern Shore or Maryland Panhandle. But I'm not silly enough to think that's commonplace.
My most NYers or Londoners. But a fair number of the ones that make NY or London what they are. People involved in business, finance or culture are more likely to move between New York and London than New York and Omaha, or London and Sheffield.
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Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Centropolis View Post
i think city-states are the most natural economic arrangement across the world and across time since the rise of recorded civilisation. many american states don't make any sense as economic units, and often their governors don't properly represent the most critical business interests in the states located in the cities, and putter around a lot with rural special interests for political reasons.

my london based company tried arranging our u.s. operations into state units and it lasted about a month, and nobody abided by it because it was a joke...

it's cities that talk to each other across the world in business...i'm dealing with say adelaide for a specific reason pertaining to that city or something near it (or some specialization). very often i do turn to people in far flung non-u.s. cities for technical expertise, not the next city over.

i'm drunk so this kind of fell flat but yes it should be all city-states.
This makes sense to me. The world consists of cities and their hinterlands.
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There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." - Isaac Asimov
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Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 5:20 PM
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Firstly, there is no way that American or European cities are going to secede. Secondly, if they did it would be catastrophic to the economic opportunities and well being of the vast majority of people not living in them. What would become of the "rump"?

I think the notion that certain large cities are uniquely connected to the world and a hard requirement for business is outdated and flawed. The only unique thing about San Francisco versus a similarly sized city with sufficient infrastructure and educated workers(like Dallas or Philly) is that power brokers and the uber rich have arbitrarily made that a home base.

The reality is a company can invent things, hire people, ship things, connect to the web, defend themselves with the law, without needing an Alpha world city for anything except the capital investment. And there is nothing magical about that wealth in those large cities, at the end of the day it can only exist because of the opportunities and security provided by the military and legal power of the larger state.

To cheer on the secession of the global elite is to cheer on massive inequality and a loss of opportunity and prosperity for the majority.

Quote:
i think city-states are the most natural economic arrangement across the world and across time since the rise of recorded civilisation. many american states don't make any sense as economic units, and often their governors don't properly represent the most critical business interests in the states located in the cities, and putter around a lot with rural special interests for political reasons.
For that period of history such civilizations also relied heavily on slavery and colonial exploitation. Might not want to bring that back.

Back prior to the rise of modern Republics, a city state might have been the only place that could support commercial activities because the hinterland was governed under a feudal system incompatible with trade activities, or was populated by a bunch of bandits and warlords, or both. Later on cities were the only places with docks and shipping hubs and still offered protection.

But after the industrial revolution all that changed, and now large states comprised of many cities with rural areas in between could offer everything old city states offered but at a larger scale. And with that more military might.

Cities aren't that strong either. Hong Kong is helpless against integration with mainland China. Istanbul used to be cosmopolitan but now Turkey is headed towards autocracy. The sun is setting on London's empire with Brexit.


Quote:
Google’s digital products don’t have a physical supply chain. Facebook doesn’t have dispersed manufacturers.
But they are platforms with ecosystems. Other people and companies produce content and apps that they deliver. Their users are also their product. Google and Facebook do experience borders. Neither has much of a presence in China because the government there wants to impose its censorship and protect domestic web companies. Both rely on a huge workforce beyond their official employee count and need talent from all over the place. Consumer facing tech names are really just the tip of the iceberg. The infrastructure and code needed to make the modern web work is huge and complex and there are giant companies you as a consumer don't interact with doing the heavy lifting. Oracle and Cisco are just as important to Silicon Valley as Apple or Twitter. A lot of that back end work is done in places like Dallas and Austin .

To run with the author's shipbuilding analogy, this is a lot more like Maersk being based in Copenhagen despite that city turning its docks into places where hipsters ride their bikes and get coffee and pastries. The warehouses and burly men loading crates onto ships may be gone but There are more ships and people who build ships and people who operate ships and cargo transported by ship now than at any point in history probably, just because you don't see it doesn't mean its not there. You might say that this proves that cities are more powerful since they can profit from a huge trade deficit by having a big company whose operations are all located on other continents headquartered locally. But its just a 'legacy' that the company is there. It is outnumbered by competitors closer to the action in South Korea and East Asia, and nothing lasts forever.

Google might not want to be headquartered in an insular city state, but rather a large country or supranational bloc that can impose favorable trade conditions with the rest of the world and can tap a deep talent pool. If Silicon Valley starts to fade because the high costs or lack of talented people moving there or lack of innovation in local companies, the big boys will still live on for some time, but they'll just be a vestige at that point and at some point erode away and vanish. It should also want to be part of the same cultural fabric as the people who use and make things for it to thrive. It is a US company, then a multinational, then a Mountain View company, in that order.
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Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 6:15 PM
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^ Good post
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Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 6:36 PM
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Nothing new here. Cities have always been the major movers in economic and social transactions. I don't subscribe to the city state inevitavitability scheme. There is too much at stake in keeping large scale statehood in front before large cities get to call the shots. Obviously, one consequence of a degradation of democratic institutions might propel large metropolitan Titans to the fore, but the fantasy of Roman imperial rule from a discreet number of alpha cities is preposterous. The script enables a two hour clunker at most.
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Old Posted Dec 24, 2017, 7:15 PM
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Originally Posted by 10023 View Post
My most NYers or Londoners. But a fair number of the ones that make NY or London what they are. People involved in business, finance or culture are more likely to move between New York and London than New York and Omaha, or London and Sheffield.
That's now a totally different thing, though. "People who make it what it is"
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