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Joel Kotkin is one of America’s premier analysts of urbanism, urban economics, demographic change, and social trends. His brand new book, The Coming of Neo-Feudalism: A Warning to the Global Middle Class, turns upside down the conventional liberal narrative about why the middle and working classes are under pressure. It’s not capitalism and markets, but their perversions, especially in the hands of the tech oligarchs of Silicon Valley and through the overregulation of basic occupations and industries that prevent aspiring people from attaining a middle class standard of living, especially on the left-leaning coastal regions of the country.
It does not take much imagination to make out the connections between the maladies Kotkin explains here and the riots and protests from the left of the last two weeks, but he thinks the real rebellion that we need is from the middle and working classes against this stifling neo-feudalism—a rebellion from the middle, so to speak, that will need to be both cultural and political.