Stories by Tobias Stone, writer

Expert Voices

Cities need to make the car obsolete

Walking in London. Photo: Frank Augstein / AP

In London, owning a car is becoming increasingly pointless. While London is far from perfect, it has been working hard to ween us off car usage.

The bottom line: As Americans rebuild cities hit by the recent hurricanes, they should do so in a way that makes owning a car unnecessary in major U.S. cities, too.

Expert Voices

Inequality shatters societies

I write this from outside America; a Londoner, and a European. One thing that has struck me in recent debates about Trump, Brexit, and the wider questions of economics, society, and healthcare is a statement I've heard from several Americans:

"America is a Capitalist country. We are not Socialist."

So the government does not pay for people's healthcare, infrastructure (or whatever we were discussing). This very binary idea of what being capitalist means threatens a slow collapse into social unrest and, historically, revolutions. Once poverty affects life expectancy, you are down to the basics of raw humanity. People get angry and desperate, and being rich becomes uncomfortable.

In the UK, where we all have free healthcare, many people find it bizarre to see such U.S. opposition to basic healthcare for everyone. It seems barbaric, not "Capitalist."

Bottom line: If economic factors keep wages from rising, then the rich who are getting richer need to recognize their responsibility to those who are getting poorer. But none of this will happen while economically ultra-conservative billionaires run America. Instead we will see an increase in poverty, and the death not only of dreams and aspirations, but also of people.

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