The Ghetto-ization of American Life – Charles Hugh Smith 4/25/24


Behind the facade of normalization, even high-income lifestyles have been ghetto-ized.

Consider the defining characteristics of a ghetto:

1. The residents can’t afford to live elsewhere.

2. Everything is a rip-off because options are limited and retailers / service providers know residents have no other choice or must go to extraordinary effort to get better quality or a lower price.

3. Nothing works correctly or efficiently. Things break down and aren’t fixed properly. Maintenance is poor to non-existent. Any service requires standing in line or being on hold.

4. Local governance is corrupt and/or incompetent. Residents are viewed as a reliable “vote farm” for the incumbents, even though whatever little they accomplish for the residents doesn’t reduce the sources of immiseration.

5. The locale is unsafe. Cars are routinely broken into, there are security bars over windows and gates to entrances, everything not chained down is stolen–and even what is chained down is stolen.

6. There are few viable businesses and numerous empty storefronts.

7. The built environment is ugly: strip malls, used car lots, etc. There are few safe public spaces or parks that are well maintained and inviting.

8. Most of the commerce is corporate-owned outlets; the money doesn’t stay in the community.

9. Public transport is minimal and constantly being degraded….

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