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Re: <nettime> Silicon Valley, five years after
a. mark liiv on Thu, 17 Mar 2005 01:05:41 +0100 (CET)


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Re: <nettime> Silicon Valley, five years after


For a look at the people blown up by the boom in San Francisco and the
East Bay, check out our documentary 'Boom - The Sound of Eviction' at
http://www.boomthemovie.org which comes from the perspective of the people
who were living in the city before the boom and didn't rise with the 6
figure salaries, but were expected to compete for rental units that
doubled and tripled, forcing many people into the street to protest (or to
try to live).

Anecdotally I have heard rents dropping a hundred or two hundred dollars
in a unit, but this is from rents that went up an easy thousand, so i
couldn't call that a settling, more like some easing of the crazy
ratcheting effect.

Land values in San Francisco are indeed unique due to the absolute limits
of a 48 square mile county at the end of the peninsula, but the boom
itself triggered a massive transfer of wealth to property owners. This is
perhaps the biggest legacy here. And perhaps a number of people in the
tech sector got into the market right away and were pleased to see their
values increase 20% a year (try finding that in a local savings account or
even on the stock market), and perhaps some folks are living on 2nd
mortgages...

The fact is the a lot of money left over after the bust didn't go back to
the stock market, but came here (and in many other World Cities) into real
estate, and now we are faced with a second bubble in the housing market
without a parallel increase in wages or jobs, even in the tech sector,
much less the lower working class markets. (I have heard that tech jobs
are coming back... Certainly the biotech boom never materialized here,
despit the City's best efforts to usher it in.)

Very few working families will afford a million dollar home. A shitty
house on the outskirts will start at 600,000. Even The Economist is
advising people to rent until the bubble bursts.

There's an interesting classical economist by the name of Henry George who
wrote a book called Progress and Poverty back in the 1880s in San
Francisco who was at least able to predict the massive homelessness and
poverty right here in this city, side by side with every increasing,
spectacular wealth.  His premise is that private ownership of land itself
is the funneling-off mechanism for what should be the greater returns to
both labor and capital that come with increased productivity (vis a vis
high technology for example)... henrygeorgesf.org

mark

     Date: Tue, 15 Mar 2005 14:34:52 -0800
     From: ed phillips <ed {AT} cronos.net>
     To: nettime-l {AT} bbs.thing.net
     Subject: Re: <nettime> Silicon Valley, five years after

     Steve,

     Thanks for posting this to nettime. It is interesting to see you
     mention the dotcom period now. I've been reading Keith Hart's The
     Hitman's Dilemna and some other interesting remarks by Keith and one
     with which I think I concur is that Bay Area markets and money and
     individual economic "actors" in the Bay Area and in the U.S. generally
     are that much more quick to to turn to new markets, new money. ascribe
     it to what you will, the absence of a welfare net, or some sui generis
     dynamism.
 <...>

-- 

"All empires collapse eventually: Akkad, Sumeria, Babylonia, Ninevah,
Assyria, Persia, Macedonia, Greece, Carthage, Rome, Mali, Songhai,
Mongonl, Tokugawaw, Gupta, Khmer, Hapbsburg, Inca, Aztec, Spanish, Dutch,
Ottoman, Austrian, French, British, Soviet, you name them, they all fell,
and most within a few hundred years. The reasons are not really complex.
An empire is a kind of state system that inevitably makes the same
mistakes simply by the nature of its imperial structure and inevitably
fails because of its size, complexity, territorial reach, stratification,
heterogeneity, domination, hierarchy, and inequalities. "
-Kirkpatrick Sale

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