March 21, 2005


Ah, Michael Barone spots a new trend: the "trustfunder left"
Who are the trustfunders? People with enough money not to have to work for a living, or not to have to work very hard. People who can live more or less wherever they want. The "nomadic affluent," as demographic analyst Joel Kotkin calls them.

These people tend to be very liberal politically. Aware that they have done nothing to earn their money, they feel a certain sense of guilt. At the elite private or public high schools they attend, and even more at their colleges and universities, they are propagandized about the evils of capitalism and globalization, and the virtues of environmentalism and pacifism. Patriotism is equated with Hiterlism.
That sounds horrible! But then he cites Kotkin to say: "The heaviest concentration is in the San Francisco Bay area, which, Kotkin says, has the largest percentage of trustfunders of any major metro area in the country." Now I see a lot of people working hard here in this city, so I wonder if this is really true. A quick click over to Kotkin's site reveals what he means by the "nomadic affluent":
[W]ealthy people whose primary residence may be elsewhere but who live downtown to be close to business; or of people 25 to 32 years old who live downtown because of its perceived hipness. These people tend to be affluent, but the trouble is they don't stay around long.
Okay, so he's just talking about hipsters, and more precisely, hipsters who tend to be affluent (so presumably not all of them are). Sure, we have a lot of them here, and they're sort of annoying. But you know, it's possible to be a well-off hipster with a nifty Mission studio and still work hard. (Many do.) Conversely, it's possible to be a hipster without all that much money, as Kotkin seems to allow. But Barone's talking about "trustfunders," which seems to be a somewhat different set of people entirely, and as far as I can tell, he just made up his little category out of thin air. There's also a question, which maybe Kotkin answers somewhere, of how influential these people actually are in the city's electoral numbers. 70 percent of the Bay Area voted for Kerry. Take out all the lazy wealthy people who were brainwashed at Bard and Dartmouth, etc., and you still get a Democratic landslide, trustfunders or no.
-- Brad Plumer 2:01 PM || ||