Archive for the Economic Geography Category

National symbol of American Dream is a foreclosure hotspot

Posted in Economic Geography, Political Geography, Urban Geography on November 19, 2008 by geography101
Levitt and Sons filled for bankrupcy in 2007

Levitt and Sons filed for bankruptcy in 2007

An op-ed piece in today’s New York Times notes that in Levittown, empty houses and for sale signs are shattering enduring images of the post-war suburban dream. In Long Island, the home of Levittown, about 1 in 3 mortgages were sub-prime:

“[Foreclosures] may seem to be a problem for overbuilt exurbs, go-go condo zones and McMansion sprawl — not tidy, solid communities like Levittown, where the American Dream was invented.”

Levitt and his sons revolutionized homebuilding over 50 years ago through a combination of technological innovations and mass production. Levittown became the pinnacle of a society driven by middle class consumption. As the largest all-white community in the nation in 1960 (today it’s 94 % white), it also speaks volumes to the social geographies produced through the federally administered race-restricted mortgages of that era. Last year, Levitt and Sons filled for bankruptcy protection after its investments in Florida’s housing markets collapsed. Read the full story from the New York Times here


The Financial Crisis: A World System’s Theory Perspective

Posted in Economic Geography on October 28, 2008 by geography101

Immanuel Wallerstein, the leading proponent of World Systems Theory recently wrote that the current financial crisis signals the start of a worldwide depression and the end of US hegemony. He writes that our current system of capitalism

cannot survive. What we cannot predict is which new order will be chosen to replace it, because it will be the result of an infinity of individual pressures. But sooner or later, a new system will be installed. This will not be a capitalist system but it may be far worse (even more polarizing and hierarchical) or much better (relatively democratic and relatively egalitarian) than such a system. The choice of a new system is the major worldwide political struggle of our times.

Read the rest of his brief commentary here. Wallerstein’s piece, is part of a series on the state of the economy from the Brecht Forum with essays from Peter Marcuse and others.

An interactive map of the global finacial crisis

Posted in Economic Geography on October 13, 2008 by geography101

Nate Millington pointed us to this interactive map from the Wall Street Journal that illustrates the global impact of the financial crisis. Follow this link to see its impacts around the world

The fate of Detroit in the wake of potential auto merger

Posted in Economic Geography on October 13, 2008 by geography101

Another link from Nate on the potential impacts on Detroit if the merger between GM and Chrysler goes ahead. Historian Kevin Boyle is quoted as saying “Detroit was a symbol of the great American industrial machine, and those days are long gone. It just weighs you down living in a place that seems to get hit again and again and again.” Read the full article from the NYT here

‘The Giant Pool of Money’ – This American Life on the Financial Crisis

Posted in Economic Geography on October 5, 2008 by geography101

This American Life produced a documentary earlier this year on the subprime crisis. If you’ve been wondering why the banks loaned money to people who couldn’t realistically repay it, or what the housing crisis has to do with the financial crisis on Wall Street, I highly recommend listening to this program

“Wall Street, R.I.P.: The End of an Era, Even at Goldman”

Posted in Economic Geography on September 29, 2008 by geography101

Goldman Sachs Headquarters in New York

Above, the headlines from the business section of Sunday’s New York Times.

The story begins in an eerily similar fashion to the one we’ve been following in the Enron documentary: ‘A world of big egos. A world where people love to roll the dice with borrowed money. A world of tightwire trading, propelled by computers…”

Toward the end of the Enron documentary, Sherron Watkins the whistleblower at Enron remarks ‘it could happen again.’ In what ways is the financial crisis on Wall street a larger version of the spectacular collapse that befell Enron? How does it differ?

“This Weeks News is a Geography Lesson”

Posted in Economic Geography, Geography and Globalization on September 22, 2008 by geography101

Geographer Rob Shields comments on the recent economic crisis in the US arguing that we need to understand it as a lesson in geography…Read the short blog here