Immigration

Reason.tv: Joel Kotkin on Why America Will Still Lead the World in 2050

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What will America be like in 40 years, after it adds another 100 million people? With so much bipartisan handwringing about everything from illegal immigration to environmental degradation, it seems like many are expecting America to collapse before 2050. Enter urban historian Joel Kotkin, who offers a rare and optimistic take on America's future.

Kotkin is the Distinguished Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University and the author of the new book, The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050. Topics include: immigration, suburbia, job creation, why America's demographic trajectory gives it an advantage over its peers.

Interview by Ted Balaker, shot by Paul Detrick and Zach Weissmueller, and edited by Alex Manning.

Approximately 9.35 minutes long.

Click here for downloadable iPod, HD, and audio versions.

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  1. Lead the world in what?

    1. Imprisonment.

      1. LOWEST CRIME RATES EVA!!!!!

        (ignore the 100% incarceration rates, we needed them.)

    2. One serious answer (from the video): agricultural production.

  2. We’re not headed for a huge collapse?

    So, is that multi-trillion dollar debt and all those unfunded liabilities our government has just run up just going to vanish mysteriously or something?

    As I say when some of my friends start saying maybe we’re in the End Times, it might be too early to say we’re in the End Times, but we could well be in some end times right now. The fall of Rome wasn’t the Apocalypse, but it was an apocalypse of sorts. And economic collapse now wouldn’t be Doomsday, but it might spell doomsday for our country and maybe a whole lot of others.

    1. Matthew 24 (KJV):

      3 And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

      4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.

      5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

      6 And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.

      7 For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.

      8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

      1. That’s what I’m talking about: it’s entirely possible for everything to fall to pieces even when you’re not talking about the end of the world. World War II and The Holocaust weren’t the end of the world, but I don’t think that knowing this would have been all that comforting a thought to anyone going through them.

        So again, how’s the USA going to stay on top when we’ve got this gargantuan debt and no hope whatsoever for paying it?

    2. Booga booga!

  3. All valuable perspective, to be sure. Any discussion of America’s future that doesn’t address the burdens and risks imposed by its metastasizing state, which is, sadly, the largest single institution in the country, ignores the 800 lb gorilla* in the room.

    *Yes, yes, I know. Racist.

    1. Any discussion of America’s future that doesn’t address the burdens and risks imposed by its metastasizing state, which is, sadly, the largest single institution in the country, ignores the 800 lb gorilla* in the room.

      He did address that by saying that there has been push back.

      The simple fact is that the tea party has already won. They will win in November and the State will be stalled.

      Will it be Libertopia? no
      Will it be like Newts 90s congress? yes and probably be a bit better.
      He is talking about America 2050 not America 2015.

      1. He did address that by saying that there has been push back.

        Oh, well, that’s alright then. Never mind. I guess that whole trillion dollar-deficit-as-far-as-the-eye-can-see, debt-in-excess-of-GDP, slow-motion-nationalization-of-major-industries, regulatory-total-state thing is all sorted out.

        What a relief.

  4. What will America be like in 40 years

    A Charred hole in the ground, from an ‘Accidental’ Russian Nuclear Strike.

    1. many are expecting America to collapse before 2050

      What year is it? Oh yeah, 2010.

      Nah, i give it 5 years, tops. And no i wont be surprised if we’re all out in the streets killing each other in under 6months time.

      1. Hint: I’m an easy target.

        Dbl-Secret-Hint: Don’t take the bait.

  5. That was no accident, comrade! Those wreckers were aiming right at our new agricultural heartland!

    1. lets just say that me responding to my own comment fucked up your response. *insert a ‘damn threading’ comment* annnnndddddd, roll to commercial.

  6. What, nobody else took the bait?

    why America’s demographic trajectory gives it an advantage over its peers

    peers? PEERS!? WE HAVE NO PEERS! AMERICA, FUCK YEAH! WE’RE NUMBER 1!

    This moment of American Exceptionalism has been brought to you by Bud Light.

  7. “This moment of American Exceptionalism has been brought to you by Bud Light.”

    The Awesome!

    1. Fuck! I misspelled “Teh”.

  8. It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.

  9. I think we aren’t quite dead yet. Partially because no strong successor is waiting in the wings; partially because we show some signs of stepping back a few steps from the brink. Some signs.

  10. I can understand how LA subsidizes poeple working in offices in downtown. But i did not understand how he pays a fee to telecommute. What is that? what is he talking about?

  11. we show some signs of stepping back a few steps from the brink

    Care to elaborate?

    (I tend to withhold judgment until the November election results are in.)

    1. No “stepping back” has been done. Just a bunch of people who’ve sorta-kind said “Gee, I wish we would”.

      There is no reason to believe their wish will translate into anything real, at this point.

      By the time this vague “Gee, if only….” sentiment translates into real political muscle — if it ever does — ObamaCare, Carbon Taxes, etc will be so deeply entrenched in the US system that nobody will ever root them out again.

      But the fact that everybody else will probably rot out a little faster and maybe even a little better than we do, sure does make me feel better. Now, time for a light beer.

  12. I agree that the US will still lead the world in 40 years, HOWEVER we won’t do it from such a position of “strength”. Because half the countries in the world can now do what we do (from agriculture to manufacturing to high tech), we will become just another competitor in the market instead of the dominance we’ve enjoyed since the Marshall Plan. We’ll still be a world leader, but mostly because of our vast natural resources and land area, and our consumer mindset.

    It certainly WON’T be because we do it better/cheaper/faster than everyone else.

  13. I have a feeling that this gentleman is correct. It is important that we compare America to any other country or area in the World. We are still essentially a people who respect our history, capitalism, our Constitution and founding documents.

    America is DYNAMIC! And people who come here no matter there circumstances become AMERICANS.

  14. When the best-case result is a future right out of
    one of William Gibson’s Cyberpunk SF novels
    it is time to go to Plan ‘B’. 🙂

    One thing he and other SF writers
    got right is that the US natural
    monopoly is not in productivity
    but _creativity_ , a human resource
    which works best in a free society.

    1. which works best in a free society.

      Obama’s killing it as fast as he can.

      I don’t agree that we’ve got any kind of monopoly on creativity. We used to be better at turning creativity into money-makers, because we were freer than most everybody else — and that’s what we had a monopoly-like edge in.

      Nearly half the US population (“progressive”, “liberal” Democrats) would now prefer to make us a carbon copy of western Europe because Europeans are so SO much smarter and better and happier than we are.

  15. “There’s only four things we do better than anyone else music movies microcode (software) high-speed pizza delivery. The Deliverator used to make software. …” – “Snow Crash”

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