Ed Glaeser: ‘If you live in the suburbs, you hate America.’

Okay, that was not a direct quote.  Here is what Ed actually said last night on The Daily Show in an attempt to incur massive scorn from the rest of America while talking about his new book, Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier.

“If the rest of the country was as productive as the New York Metropolitan area our national GDP would instantly jump forty-three percent!”

An interesting Amazon review from Ira E. Stoll:

This is two really wonderful books and one less wonderful book all wrapped into one…

The first book, which is terrific, is a brisk and accessible tour through a series of real-life experiments deeply grounded in data: “A study of corruption in Indonesia found that the stock prices of companies whose leaders stood closest to that country’s dictator in photographs suffered most when the leader fell ill.”

The second excellent book within Triumph of a City documents the way that regulations prevent cities from accommodating the needs of people. “Too much preservation stops cities from providing newer, taller, better buildings for their inhabitants,” he writes.

The strength of the first two books makes the weakness of the third book contained within Triumph of the City all the more disappointing. This third book-within-a-book consists of a series of left-wing assumptions.

The problems of cities, Professor Glaeser insists, won’t be solved by “mindlessly relying on the free market.” In fact, he says, “there’s no free-market solution for the great urban problem facing slums….Cities desperately need forceful, capable governments to provide clean water.”

Ruh-roh! Glaeser: you just went after the freshwater economists’ economic theory and geographic location, oh snap!

Ed Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics at Harvard.

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