Things we will need more of in my lifetime: housing and therapists

Housing: recent Econ Talk about it. Housing’s an issue here in SF, of course, but also throughout the country. Name a wealthy, in-demand city, and I’ll rattle off some insane housing prices there for you. Hahaha, housing is crazy, haha.

But this is a big problem.
- it’s better for everyone if more people live in cities: environmentally, economically, socially. You meet different people. This makes you do better work, create more wealth, and also get less xenophobic. If cities are inaccessible, we’ll burn more greenhouse gases per capita and harden into our little social bubbles more.

- inaccessible cities widen the “coastal elites” gap. Imagine you live in, say, rural PA, you’re smart and stuff, and you think about moving to NYC. But the costs of everything (especially housing) are so high it doesn’t even make sense to start thinking about it unless you fancy selling a kidney and living in a phone booth. I’m sure there are a ton of rural people who would think about moving into the city if it didn’t seem so Charles Dickens or Mad Max. The people who are┬ámaking it there must seem so out of this world and out of touch. Thus, “coastal elites.”

This is tricky, because I generally do believe in markets. I guess my working hypothesis is, the markets for housing in cities are generally pretty broken. Here in SF it takes like 6 years to get through all the approvals and stuff, which leads to artificially restricted supply, which leads to sky-high prices. If we didn’t have large swaths of the city zoned for single family houses, we’d get more developers building big towers to meet the skyrocketing demand.

Therapists: I’ve got to think probably 95% of mass murderers would chill the F out if they just had someone to talk to. And as technology keeps increasing the number of harm one unhinged person can do, well… ideally we should pour resources into helping people not become unhinged. (Talking about not only gun sprees, but also stuff like frustrated nerds becoming “alt right” fanboys.)


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