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JOEL KOTKIN is the Presidential Fellow in Urban Futures at Chapman University in Orange, California and Executive Director of the Houston-based Center for Opportunity Urbanism (opportunityurbanism.org). He is Executive Editor of the widely read website NewGeography.com. A regular contributor to the City Journal, Daily Beast, Quillette, and Real Clear Politics, he also writes a weekly column for Digital First Media, which owns numerous daily newspapers in the greater Los Angeles region.
Author of The Human City: Urbanism for the Rest of Us (Agate Press) in 2016 and co-editor of the 2018 collection Infinite Suburbia (Princeton University Press), Kotkin is the author of seven previously published books, including the widely praised The New Class Conflict (Telos Press), which describes the changing dynamics of class in America.
Mr. Kotkin has published reports on topics ranging from the future of class in global cities to the places with the best opportunities for minorities. His 2013 report, “Post-familialism: Humanity’s Future,” an examination of the world’s future demography, was published by the Civil Service College of Singapore and Chapman University and has been widely commented on not only in the United States, but in Israel, Brazil, Canada and other countries.
Liberal capitalism enabled the many to improve their condition and form a robust middle class, but we are reverting to a more stratified society, with concentrated wealth and limited social mobility. A new, higher-tech feudalism is emerging.
Following a remarkable epoch of greater dispersion of wealth and opportunity, we are inexorably returning towards a more feudal era marked by greater concentration of wealth and property, reduced upward mobility, demographic stagnation, and increased dogmatism. If the last seventy years saw a massive expansion of the middle class, not only in America but in much of the developed world, today that class is declining and a new, more hierarchical society is emerging.