Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Paul Krugman has a good point about Big Cities

This is so nice:

OK, actually I was born in Albany, and grew up on Long Island. But here’s my question: I understand why it’s political poison to show disrespect for small-town values — dignity is precious to all of us, and often trumps material interest. But why is it OK to disrespect big city values, even to suggest — as Bush has — that big-city dwellers aren’t part of the “real America”?

I mean, I get a lump in my throat when visiting the Lower East Side Tenement Museum. The big-city immigrant experience is as much a part of what made America as the rural, small-town experience. It deserves the same degree of respect.

I'll go a step further (and BTW, I grew up in a small Midwestern town called La Crosse, Wisconsin--the epitome of the "heartland"). Cities are where things get accomplished, and where people need to learn to get along with others who may be different from themselves. New Yorkers have to cooperate more with others every day than any other place in the US (with the possible exception now of Los Angeles). This reflects values that we should celebrate.


Chandrakant Mohanty said...

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kevin p. said...

Reminds me of Putnam's work on Italy, where the urban north was more successful because of the mutual reciprocity and social capital required in city-living, while the rural South was parochial and nepostistic.

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