The Rise And Fall of Cities

Victor David Hanson uses a broad historical perspective to examine the causes of the rise and fall of former world cities. He argues that the computer driven, global age will accelerate the process of growth and decline.
December 11, 2010, 7am PST | George Haugh
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Rome, Athens, Florence, Byzantium and Ephesus are all cities of the same breed. Former capitals of politics, finance, industry or empire that saw their power and influence fade as the world around them changed. Hanson begins to examine the natural and human causes behind the pattern which is set to replay in New York.

He argues that the only way to sooth bi-racial tensions are by making a city multi-racial, and that good governance and sensible tax structures of the sort implemented in New York since the 1990s have served to renew the city in a way that is not possible in, for example, Detroit. What could end New York "as we know it," is commercial failure and flight of capital, similar to that which doomed renaissance Florence.

Hanson claims that New York's swerve towards being a "completely redistributive city," will result in a similar departure of banks and bankers to lower tax Southern or Midwestern states eager to couch it. The city's broad network of theaters, art, universities and foundations neutered without the flowing financial incomes that support them.

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Published on Friday, December 10, 2010 in City Journal
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