Neo-Feudalism in California

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

From the beginning, California promised much. While yet barely a name on the map, it entered American awareness as a symbol of renewal. It was a final frontier: of geography and of expectation. —Kevin Starr, Americans and the California Dream: 1850–1915 In the eyes of both those who live here and those who come to observe, […]

Read more

From tragedy to opportunity: We could live better when today’s mayhem ends

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

For most people in this locked-down, riot-scarred world, the future beckons unpleasantly. There is a growing sense that, economically, the 2020s may look more like the 1930s than some halcyon post-industrial future. “Dark days ahead,” suggests The Week. “This is what the end of the end of history looks like.” Yet, beyond the depressing statistics, […]

Read more

Triumph of the Woke Oligarchs

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

Like the rest of the country, although far less than New York, California is suffering through the Covid-19 crisis. But in California, the pandemic seems likely to give the state’s political and corporate elites a new license to increase their dominion while continuing to keep the middle and working classes down. Perhaps nothing spells the […]

Read more

Viral Politics

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

Long after the pandemic has receded, its long-term impact on our society and political life will continue. Just as plagues past have reshaped the trajectory of cities and civilizations, sometimes with fearsome morbidity, COVID-19 is already having a profoundly disruptive impact on our political future. Rather than uniting humanity against a common foe, the pandemic […]

Read more

After Coronavirus We Need to Rethink Densely Populated Cities

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

For the better part of this millennium, the nation’s urban planning punditry has predicted that the future lay with its densest, largest, and most cosmopolitan cities. Yet even before the onslaught of COVID-19, demographic and economic forces were pointing in the exact opposite direction, as our biggest cities—New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago—all lost population […]

Read more

Big Tech’s Hypocritical Wokeness May Soon Backfire

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

Not long ago, in our very same galaxy, the high-tech elite seemed somewhat like the Jedis of the modern era. Sure, they were making gobs of money, but they were also “changing the world” for the better. Even demonstrators against capitalism revered them; when Steve Jobs died in 2011, the protesters at Occupied Wall Street […]

Read more

The Golden State is on a path to high-tech feudalism

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

“We are the modern equivalent of the ancient city-states of Athens and Sparta. California has the ideas of Athens and the power of Sparta,” declared then-governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007. “Not only can we lead California into the future . . . we can show the nation and the world how to get there.” When a movie […]

Read more

Unsustainable California

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

The recent rash of fires, like the drought that preceded it, has sparked a new wave of pessimism about the state’s future. But the natural disasters have also obscured the fact the greatest challenge facing the state comes not from burning forests or lack of precipitation but from an increasingly dysfunctional society divided between a […]

Read more

Property and Democracy in America

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

To understand how American democracy has worked, and why its future may be limited, it’s critical to look at the issue of property. From early on, the country’s republican institutions have rested on the notion of dispersed ownership of land — a striking departure from the realities of feudal Europe, east Asia or the Middle […]

Read more

The Real Conflict Is Not Racial or Sexual, It’s Between The Ascendant Rich Elites and The Rest Of Us

Joel Kotkin
Editor of NewGeography.com and Presidential fellow in urban futures at Chapman University

Despite the media’s obsession on gender, race and sexual orientation, the real and determining divide in America and other advanced countries lies in the growing conflict between the ascendant upper class and the vast, and increasingly embattled, middle and working classes. We’ve seen this fight before. The current conflict fundamentally reprises the end of the […]

Read more