r > g in Vancouver

I’m finally coming back to full functioning from a concussion so there will be less silence here (I’m still writing a book though, a strong counter-tendency). Today, I just wanted to post a revealing duo of headlines about Vancouver, the city my partner and I left (fled?) just over half a year ago.

Exhibit 1:


Exhibit 2:


In the first piece, Vancouver’s mayor offers a tone-deaf apologia for the devastating lack of affordable housing in his city. Poverty, precarity, dislocation and homelessness are unfortunate outcomes of the sins of others, little to do but wash them away with the healing waters of street festivals and food trucks. Can’t get by? Consider a delicious food truck taco!

The second piece, from long-time Vancouver columnist Ian Young, offers a devastating answer to Robertson’s question. Young reports a back-of-(data-packed)-envelope calculation showing that the rise in the value of land under Vancouver’s single-family houses was likely greater than total employment income in the city last year.

Interestingly, the sole sensible section amidst Robertson’s green elite smugness in the first piece points to why this would be so: increased commodification of housing and generalized global asset price inflation in the wake of the financial crisis. Add in a local political system run by developers — oddly missing from Robertson’s account — and you’re set.

As central bank scrambles to re-ignite global growth have managed to support r for some and left g stumbling along, Vancouver is ground central for today’s r > g.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *