Alex Beckstead 
Member since Mar 28, 2013


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Re: “The Bacon-Wrapped Economy

This feels like so much effort with so little insight. Factual errors/inaccuracies abound: SF Symphony players make more than the Google/Twitter kids you're decrying, and they're striking not over wages but insurance co-pays; I've taken Uber to the airport and it's more reliable than a cab for about 10-15% more money, not 50%. Like the gold rush and first tech boom before it, "bubbles" are not some new invention, they're part of the cycle of capitalism. We grow and contract in a cycle. The trick is trying to make sure the retractions aren't so drastic that they destroy more than the growth cycles created. And yes, people lose their jobs and livelihoods in the process. And our country is wealthy enough that we should figure out a way to address that (which probably has a lot to do with education not just charity). Frankly, that kind of "philanthropy" feels more important to me than support the SF Symphony. And there's room for both.

Speaking of which, many of your examples of corporate largesse are laughable. You haven't scratched the surfaces of the true excesses (CEO Salaries, anyone?) while you've tried to shock us with things like expensive bikes and buckets of Smirnoff Ice. Luxuries, for sure, but hardly the sole domain of the ultra rich. And I once flew half way around the world for a weekend -- because there was a fare sale and a last minute light to Paris was $400. Does that make me a billionaire?

Yes, the world is changing. The way people donate money is changing. The things people are interested in are changing. We don't want to lose what's valuable about the past, but we don't get there by freezing time or lamenting the loss of some golden age that never existed anyway. You have to think of it like surfing: You can't pause the wave, but you can get on top of it. If you face it and argue otherwise, you're just going to get a lung full of water.

I also think the loathing of the restaurant and personal services industries in this article is totally totally misguided. Not that all these services are ideal, equitable, or even a good use of money. But you know what else these people are? SMALL BUSINESS PEOPLE. They looked at a changing world, considered their talents, skills and passions, and found a way to make a living doing it. And probably created some jobs in the process. Yes, rents have gotten inflated and there are private buses in SF. And there are some things about that which are problematic. But those buses also deliver LOADS of cash into our city's economy. It goes to taxes. It goes to small business people. And they live here -- the services that are created to serve them are sometimes silly, but often they're great, and make the city a more vibrant livable place for all of us.

Gentrification is tricky. It has its problems. It also has its benefits. It means the local economy is growing. It means that families who struggled to buy in a tight housing market are getting rewarded for their investment. You can't stand still. The world doesn't work that way. Economics don't work that way. We have our highs, we take our licks, hopefully we get smarter and do better the next time. But you have to figure out a way to make the change more livable without bailing against the tide. This article is high on word count but low on understanding of what needs to happen to really make our communities better.

47 likes, 26 dislikes
Posted by Alex Beckstead on 03/28/2013 at 9:05 AM

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