The recent deadly fire at an electronic music party in Oakland, California had economic dimensions.

The recent deadly fire at an electronic music party in Oakland, California has brought out many raw emotions and viewpoints. However, Prof. Wolff is very much qualified to address a number of the surrounding issues such as the cost of living in the Bay Area, how those of us that choose to lead professional lives that focus on the arts, nightlife or urban culture (in particular brands of such that reject the corporate or hyper masculine ideal)are economically and culturally marginalized and forced to work in marginal spaces. Or maybe the irresponsibility of landlords and if tenants share blame. Add to this a growing moral panic that seeks to shut down many artist warehouse spaces even if they have sufficient fire mitigation and prevention facilities. I urge Prof. Wolff to address this story. Thank you-Justin Beck

Official response from submitted

I see the issue you raise as part of the gentrification tragedy playing out across many major US cities. Gentrification is simply another word for "the market in space." Using the market as the mechanism for distributing urban space (land and buildings) simply means rationing them out to those with the most money, period. No planning for a diverse (in terms of facilities, income levels, ethnicities, cultures, ages, family styles, etc.) is allowed or effective. Nothing counts except the money: if you have it you get it, if you dont you lose. The absurd irony then plays out: to tap into such diversity as still exists, the rich buy up the space and thereby extinguish the diversity that attracted them. The solution is clear and straightforward: the distribution of space cannot be governed by the market because it is a socially unacceptable distribution mechanism that stifles diversity, artistic creativity and the quality of people's lives, in a word. All this is but more evidence/reason to advocate system change beyond market capitalism. Capitalism makes a tiny number of people, relatively, absurdly rich which the market then works to subordinate everyone to those rich people's tastes and choices about how and where to spend the money given them by the system.


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  • commented 2016-12-26 15:34:46 -0500
    Thank you for your thoughts Professor Wolff. :)
  • tagged this with Important 2016-12-26 15:34:46 -0500
  • responded with submitted 2016-12-26 14:28:03 -0500
  • published this page in Ask Prof. Wolff 2016-12-24 05:22:09 -0500

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