By Michael Gecan
An established group organizer outlines the way to opposite the fifty-year decline in social mobility and monetary development.
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Additional info for After America's Midlife Crisis (Boston Review Books)
They have created enclaves around universities and hospitals where parents can buy condos for their student-children and where private security forces patrol the streets. They have sequestered revenues generated by business and medical clusters within those districts, thus starving the larger public housing, health, transit, and educational systems in the sprawling ghettos just outside the gates. They have encouraged construction of homes and apartment towers that few local residents can afford, which are bought as investment by elites.
Massive state support, solicited by Richard Ravitch and engineered by the late Speaker of the Assembly Stanley Fink and then-Governor Mario Cuomo, helped stabilize the system. An epic campaign to block the construction of a West Side highway led by Marcy Benstock saved billions for mass transit. Relentless advocacy by Gene Russianoff and the Straphangers Campaign kept the problems and potential of the transit system on the radar screens of the press and politicians. Able management by Robert Kiley meant that the funds raised and saved were put to good use.
Withdrawal: increasing fragmentation and privatization. As the budget crises persist, as the gimmicks after america’s midlife crisis become more transparent and inadequate, as the racial and ethnic rhetoric rises, those with resources begin to protect their own interests. Walls of all kinds are built. Private colleges and hospitals will became fiefdoms—supplying their own security, sanitation, even housing at times. Private schools for those who can afford them multiply. Gated communities have become the norm.