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Where the Poor Go | in over your head

September 14, 2010

Where the Poor Go

Posted: 13 Sep 2010 04:02 AM PDT

I was checking out some graffiti in my neighbourhood the other day and thinking about gentrification.

It seems natural that those that are poor would be able to see opportunity in places (neighbourhoods) where the rich are not looking yet. This is how startups get profitable and why artists move into sketchy areas of a city.

As these same areas become profitable, though, big organizations move in and build condos, or Facebook gets into location based social software. This eventually crowds out the poor or small as the rich lean into the problem with their increased resources. Depending on laws (anti-monopoly, rent control, etc.), this may take longer, but it can’t really be stopped entirely. This is “fine” (not really), as long as there are new places to go.

When the poor of Europe took boats to America to have access to new land and to stop oppression of their people, they had to work hard in order to make it livable for their families, but their hard work was rewarded. They had more opportunity and freedom than their class normally allowed. They became rich in a new way by changing the pond they swam in.

This is all fine and good… until you run out of land.

I’m asking myself where settlers go now. When all neighbourhoods become gentrified, when all areas of business become monopolized by larger enterprise, where do the disenfranchised go to seek new opportunity? Do they have to move out to the North of Canada, the wilderness where no one really wants to be, in order to find something new for themselves?

Another question to ask yourself is where you are on the spectrum. Do you seek out opportunity by finding strange, uncomfortable places, or do you look for areas where risk is lower? This is the spectrum from angel investor > venture capitalist > shareholder in a blue chip company. Each has methods of profit but they are based on ability to understand risk. (Of course it all comes back down to this.)

Wherever you are, it seems inevitable that someone bigger will eventually come in and crowd you out. This force exerts its influence wherever you are on the chain.

So, everyone must become a settler again in order to find better land. Best that we adjust to discomfort now and find new ways to increase our liberty and profit– before the tides turn.

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