David Brooks (PBS)

David Brooks insists that politicians can't save a racially divided America -- but maybe hipsters can

Brooks thinks a melding of hipster cities and Texas megalopolises might be the key to prosperity


Scott Eric Kaufman
June 3, 2016 4:13PM (UTC)

In his Friday New York Times column, David Brooks argued that the current election cycle has focused too much on what's going wrong in America, and that the country's inability to embrace his perpetual optimism is part of the reason it's stuck in economic doldrums.

Because, according to Brooks, much of America is actually doing quite well, albeit for different reasons. He addresses two areas that are succeeding, and names them after their most vociferous champions. The first are "Richard Florida cities," which "are dense, highly educated, highly communal places with plenty of hipsters." The second are "Joel Kotkin cities," which "are opportunity cities like Houston, Dallas and Salt Lake City. These places are less regulated, so it’s easier to start a business."

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Instead of focusing on racial tensions in cities like Baltimore, Brooks would rather people debate the relative merits of these two models:

We should be having a debate between the Kotkin model and the Florida model, between two successful ways to create prosperity, each with strengths and weaknesses. That would be a forward-looking debate between groups who are open, confident and innovative. That would be a debate that, while it might divide by cultural values and aesthetics, wouldn’t divide along ugly racial lines...

Read the rest at the New York Times...


Scott Eric Kaufman

Scott Eric Kaufman is an assistant editor at Salon. He taught at a university, but then thought better of it. Follow him at @scottekaufman or email him at skaufman@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Cities David Brooks Hipsters Joel Kotkin Nate Silver Richard Florida The Economy

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