I didn’t expect all the hate. I’ve lost friends over this article. But, as the cliche goes, maybe they weren’t friends to begin with. Reality is better to deal with than denial.
I was on Fox Business earlier today. I will be on Glenn Beck’s show tomorrow. There’ve been a lot of nice mentions about my article on “NYC Is Dead Forever… Here’s Why.” There were no politics in my post, so I hope people didn’t take it that way. I was just stating facts.
I’ve also had an enormous amount of hate mail. ENORMOUS.
Mostly people from NYC saying things like, “I hate it when people from Iowa come to NY for a week(!!!), trash it, and leave. GET THE F OUT @jaltucher!”
I tried to respond: “I was born here. Been here all my life except for college.” But people have their biases and refuse to let go of them.
And, of course, as always, I realized it was useless to try to explain things to anonymous trolls. Only the 1,000th time I’ve learned that.
And many people liked it, sent me messages, and I hope I did what I intended, which was provide food for thought and for solutions. And in this article, food for hope.
But it’s also amusing to see all the specific people who decided to trash me.
At least two family members who haven’t spoken to me in years (“He left NYC for five years! Just an opportunist!”), two people who I gave their very first jobs to (“@jaltucher is full of sh*t”), and other people who had problems with me unrelated to this article and chose this opportunity to ride the NYC-born pendulum that swung against me.
Good luck to them. Life is short.
My point is: Don’t shoot the messenger. I’m not making a political statement at all. Nor am I “kicking NYC while it’s down.” Far from it. I live in NY. I still own a bar/comedy club in NY. My kids go to school in NY. My family is there. My friends are there.
But if my FACTS are correct—thousands of restaurants shut down, Midtown empty, evictions soaring to all-time highs, the greatest violence in years, etc.—it’s reasonable to ask, what’s next in life?
I love NYC, always have, always will. And I have a family. And I have other dreams in my life. I expect I will always live in NYC one way or the other but, perhaps because of that, I take very seriously the problems that New Yorkers are facing and I have to decide whether I want to help solve those problems, or if they are even solvable.
SOLUTIONS PEOPLE OFFERED
I found nobody offered solutions to the problems mentioned in my article other than the typical:
- NYC still has a ways to go before it hits bottom.
- New leadership will be elected.
- Rents will collapse all over the city, making NYC affordable for young people for the first time in decades.
- Young people will move in.
- An energetic art scene will develop and thrive based on the new youth-based culture
- And as a result, cafes, restaurants, culture, businesses will begin to thrive again.
But this “solution” skips over and ignores many of the problems I outline.
For instance, the fact that bandwidth, for the first time ever, allows people to work fully remotely. It has also allowed companies like Google, Twitter, JPMorgan, Citigroup, and many, many others to go remote indefinitely, which means that many office buildings will remain empty.
This will damage the entire economic ecosystem that existed around the millions of workers who will now be remote (or evicted or no longer going to college campuses, etc.): the transit system, office maintenance, restaurants, etc.
That, combined with a rising deficit and lower revenues from lower personal and corporate taxes, is a huge bridge we’re going to have to cross before there is any thriving youth culture.
Did you know that only 2,500 people (out of eight million people in NYC) pay 40% of all the taxes that NYC collects, and that this is the main income for NYC? Well, what happens if half, or even 1/10, of those 2500 are gone, precisely when expenses are going up?
I don’t know the answer. I only point it out. NYC will be here 10 years from now. But it will be different.
That’s why I don’t call this period we are entering a “new normal”… I call it “The Great Reset.”
Everything is getting reset. Everything. It’s like leaving high school and going across the country to college. You can be a new person. Make new friends. Have new passions. Explore new ideas.
The economy is not up or down right now. It’s tilted. There is money to be made and through my books, through my podcast, through these articles, I hope to explore and share as many opportunities as possible.
THERE IS HOPE
Everyone read my article and said, “Ugh, this makes me so sad.” I am sorry I did that to people. It was not my intent (nor was it my intent to make people angry).
There is massive, massive HOPE that is seeded inside the words of that article. And everyone should benefit.
Innovationism—the belief that innovation, creativity, invention powers ongoing prosperity, improves standards of living, improves equality, brings people from harsh conditions to thriving ones—is alive and well in America.
And with the decline of the first-tier cities—LA, San Francisco, NYC, Chicago—we are going to see financial opportunity, creative opportunity, educational opportunity, tech opportunity dispersed to every area of the country and not just two or three cities.
We have this to look forward to in The Great Reset.
As individuals, in this resetting era, we have more than ever to contribute.
The “frontier” of the American Dream has always been defined by geography. But with each one of us confronting our fears inside this pandemic and economic lockdown, we will find the frontier within ourselves and that is what will be explored in The Great Reset.
For my appearance on Fox this morning, click here.
James Altucher is the author of the bestselling book Choose Yourself, editor at The Altucher Report and host of the popular podcast, The James Altucher Show, which takes you beyond business and entrepreneurship by exploring what it means to be human and achieve well-being in a world that is increasingly complicated. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter.
Image courtesy of Florian Wehde.