A news item on tonight’s BBC’s 6 O’clock News featured New York and the new skyscrapers that are beginning to dominate Manhattan’s skyline. The buildings are some of the most expensive examples of real estate anywhere in the world, with one apartment reportedly selling for $100M. The interesting thing about the news item was the allegation that very few of these super-expensive properties are ever likely to be occupied by actual people. It is odd to think that in a city where 50% of working class people live on or below the poverty line (according to BBC sources) that buildings are being crammed into an already over developed site, only to be left to stand empty – all whilst feathering the nests of the very wealthy individuals and collectives buying said properties.
New York’s poor and working classes were turfed off the land that eventually became the landscaped Central Park, and ever since, people have been forced to move farther out because of spiralling real estate prices. This latest example is only the most ridiculous manifestation of the gap that exists, and that continues to widen, between the rich and the working classes. Perhaps the Occupy Movement should extend its remit to include a form of squatting in buildings where people could be housed comfortably instead of being forced to live in poverty? What violence might today’s establishment mete out in the face of such peaceful protest?