Living on the Edge
THE NEXT HUNDRED MILLION: America in 2050. By Joel Kotkin. Penguin. 320 pp. $25.95
Joel Kotkin, along with hissome-timenemesis Richard Florida, is perhaps the leading purveyor of a kind ofpsychoeconomic demography, a predictive chronicler armed with Census tract data, Pew surveys, and some old-fashioned shoe-leather reporting, all recounted in an urgent, assuaging, insider-ytone—a kind of Kiplinger Report for the national soul. I can imagine Kotkin and Florida randomly encountering eachother—in, say, the Admiral’s Club at DFW, as each is en route to his assignation with civic leaders eager to sup thesooth—and engaging in adueling-PowerPoint exercise, with Florida touting his “creative class” metropoles and theircappuccino-fueled dynamism, and Kotkin his “ephemeral cities”—places such as Portland that are elaborate stage sets for hip urban play, ultimately overregulated and hostile to the wants of average Americans, who would find fuller expression of their economic (and reproductive) potential in a place such as Boise. Only one man would be left standing amid the acrid tang of overheated hard drives, but I’m not surewhich.
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