On the day Seattle Times reports that Seattle is, for the second year in a row, the city with the most cranes in the US (62—two of which are right next to my house in Columbia City), it also reports that Amazon, the Seattle-based e-commerce corporation, is celebrating "record levels" of buying during its annual Prime Day. Millions of Americans are ordering stuff from its online store. Amazon stock is still at $1,000 a share. It's putting trees into spheres. And like those trees locked in those spheres, it has effectively locked Apple into the sphere of the previous decade. Bezos is today's Jobs.
But let's think about all of this for a moment. For one, though the US economy added 222,000 jobs last month, it's hard to believe that most of them appeared in places that voted for Trump. They are most likely happening in places that voted against the pussy grabber and his dusty vision of a proud and loud white America. And so, it's very likely that we have a situation in the US where whites in rural areas are getting lots of racist declarations and executive orders from their commander-in-chief, but when it comes to the purse and pocket, are actually making little to no gains, are endanger of losing affordable health care, and have exposed themselves to the kind exploitation that urban movements like Trump-Proof Seattle are building a defense against.
Trump's working- and middle-class white voters have no idea that the Golden Age of American capitalism, the one from which the huge white middle class emerged, was a consequence of high wages and a progressive taxing—and to be fair, how are they supposed to know, when this obvious fact is not even taught in college-level economics courses. But in the entire history of the US—and that of Europe or Japan—you will not find a large middle class arising from a regime of low wages and regressive taxes. And so it makes sense to predict that Trump's low wages and low taxes will only make rural life even more miserable.
These are very strange times.
Though economies in urban centers are booming, and much of this can be attributed to high wages (giving money to the poor is actually a win-win) there is also a approaching recession for brick-and-mortar businesses that are not providing prepared foods, atmospheres for public drinking, and the excitement of club/live music. Last night, I had drinks with a local developer who explained to me small businesses in booming Seattle are losing the race against Amazon. "What are we supposed to do? Is everyone supposed to open a restaurant?" the developer asked. People are buying more and more of the things they need from Amazon. The developer could not see how all of this would end for urbanism, which, as Jane Jacobs explained in The Death and Life of Great American Cities, is also about supporting a diversity of small business. (For Jacobs, a mall or something like Walmart made sense for rural areas, but not for cities; in much the same way, a huge deep freezer made sense for a rural home, and not an urban one.) And so, while the city is booming, large sections of Seattle's economy are struggling to stay alive.
And Seattle has "an additional 99 developments... in the pipeline for future years," writes Mike Rosenberg of the Seattle Times.