Thursday, December 17, 2015

Price of Paradise-David Dante Troutt

Price of Paradise: The Costs of Inequality and a Vision for a More Equitable America-David Dante Troutt

the facts
satisfaction: up
pages: 275
gender: M
nationality: USA, of color
year: 2014
non fiction, urban studies

An exploration of suburbia and the middle class and how they underpin the poverty and inequality of American society.

Troutt focuses upon Detroit and the NJ suburban sprawl and as such I continually thought back to NJ and confirmed his statistics with my own anecdotal experience so I found this to be an utterly fascinating book (and retained mostly information about NJ-sorry Detroiters, I'm biased towards the Oranges). Troutt takes the debate of poverty back down to the middle scale view, he's focusing upon county distribution of resources and how those patterns transfer to the broader regions/urban centers (spoiler alert: it all follows similar patterns). He dedicates each chapter to a common argument that props up the middle class who live in mostly white suburbs and dismantles them-one chapter for instance is on the myth that the middle class got to be middle class without any help from the government, the usual argument against the welfare state, while another examines how politicians can manipulate federal money at the county level to make the poorer towns poorer while making the richer ones richer, i.e. the argument that people in Africa are doing worse than those at home argument. The picture is bleak and Troutt makes it clear that this model is completely unsustainable, not just in terms of human suffering but also as a resource to keep the rich so rich. And yet if you are interested in community models of planning and governance, Troutt has some excellent suggestions to round off the book. A well argued book that treats inequality intersectionally discussing class, race and history as well as the future on manageable scales of analysis. I really enjoyed his point about the interdependency of our lives.

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