As a postscript to what I wrote the other day — December 29, 2015

As a postscript to what I wrote the other day

…about The Great Inversion, I’d direct you to the episode of The Weeds dealing with gentrification (inter alia). The Weeds is a podcast on the Panoply Network, which also hosts the quite excellent Amicus podcast starring Dahlia Lithwick. The Weeds features three people from Vox: Matt Yglesias, Sarah Kliff, and Ezra Klein. It has rapidly become my favorite podcast, and I eagerly listen to every new episode right when it comes out.

In the gentrification episode, Yglesias makes the point that there are lots of cities that would dream of experiencing a “great inversion”, where wealthy people move in and poor people move out. When we talk about a great inversion (which, as I mentioned in the aforelinked review of the book, should more accurately be called a “marginal inversion”), we’re really talking about a small number of cities on the coasts: Boston, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, L.A. … maybe 15 cities if we were really generous about it. We’re not talking about Cleveland or Detroit or Buffalo or Hartford or Erie. And when we’re talking about this “great” inversion, we’re really talking about a fraction of the rich people within those cities’ metro areas. But the media, the political system, and (I’m looking at you, San Francisco) too much elite discourse are dominated by people living on the coasts, so it’s not surprising that we’d be talking about a great inversion.

Now, granted, I’ve not looked at the data on this. Maybe Toledo and Gary are marginally inverting just as well as San Francisco and Boston. And maybe it’s more than marginal in New York and L.A. But my hunch is that it’s not. And The Great Inversion didn’t offer evidence in support of its claim.