Academic journal article Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table

Yankee Migration: Causes and Reverse Trends in Urbanization

Academic journal article Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table

Yankee Migration: Causes and Reverse Trends in Urbanization

Article excerpt


In the past, we used to think of Yankee (1) as residents of the five boroughs (2) of New York City (referred to as the City). Presently we are not so sure. The high cost of residential life in the City, along with personal/corporate income and real estate taxations, may well be some of the factors forcing New York-bound migration and residency into limbo. The aftermath of this hardship is the gradual loss of the City's cosmopolitan character, momentum in industrialization, and the City's real estate revenue to neighboring smaller cities and towns. This anomaly is a warning sign of a greater future cost-driven migration catastrophe than the prevailing one. If the municipal government were to amend its taxation policy, making the cost of living commensurate with earned wages and capital-gains tax (to assure affordable cost of residential life and enterprise ownership in the City), this loss of revenue would be reversed; but if not, we should expect the situation to worsen.

I use the term migration in this article to specifically refer to the movement by past, present, and prospective Yankees as well as City-based small corporations from the City to smaller towns, which provide cheaper spatial square footage of renting residential and corporate property, running costs, and taxations than in the City. My use of the word, man, is not gender-biased, but rather it is inclusive of the feminine gender. I intend to approach my subject more from the unorthodox perspective of my empirical knowledge of the problems than from the traditional standpoint of reliance on existing scholarships on the subject, focusing solely on the internal rather than the international factors of human migration.

Four questions come to mind: 1) what are the reasons for the Yankee migration, 2) how can the accuracy of these reasons be ascertained in the light of numerous possibilities of the causes of migration, 3) who is to determine the accuracy of these possibilities, and 4) do Yankees migrate from the City voluntarily or because of certain unbearable economic hardships, forcing their movement to places of affordable costs of living and enterprise? Answering these questions will determine whether or not economics of life and of living in the City are exclusive reasons for these shifting trends. Suppose I say that certain economic theories of urbanization in the last century are stale and should be annulled as far as the applicability of these theories to the case study is concerned, i.e., industrialization is no longer the absolute factor of determining rural-to-urban migration; instead, certain urban-driven socio-economic conditions force shifting residency from big cities to adjoining smaller towns.

My aim, in this article, is to reexamine migration and residency culture in the City, using its past and present alien/undocumented residents and prospective migrants from developing civilizations as a case study. Adjunct to the central issue in the Yankee migration, I shall reexamine applicability of twentieth-century economic theories of urbanization and cosmopolitanism; will be guided by historical, philosophical, and empirically-collected data in advancing an argument to support my claim that migration of Yankees has recently been driven partly by a shift in conditions of living inconsistent with economic theories of urbanization (formulated in the last century); shall review selected philosophies and scholarships on migration and acculturation; will utilize collected data in thinking through and finding solutions to the problems, using Fela Kuti's notion of "waka-waka" job-hunting dilemma to show vicissitudes of daily life as fundamental to the case study.

A study of the reasons for human activity and culture should begin in the field (Becker 1998). The beginning of cultural study of societies in the field is right, insofar as people do not do the same thing for the same reason or engage in different practices for the same reason. …

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