What poor people need…

…is access to land.  Henry George noted that in the 19th century, and here’s Harold Henderson reviewing Sudhir Venkatesh’s new book:

what “James Arleander” needs is a piece of alley to do his off-the-books car repair, something he’s not going to find in a squeaky-clean mixed-income community.

Exactly.  Every kind of economic activity requires land, and if you can’t get the use of any you can’t produce anything.

From this review and others I’ve seen, the book seems to go way beyond the land issue, telling us, first, something about the “underground” economy by which many folks support themselves, and second, some of the reasons why it really isn’t a good thing that they must do so.

Yeah, I’d like to read the actual book, but it seems that the entire Chicago Public Library system has only one copy, and Amazon says it’ll be 4-6 weeks before they can deliver it.

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