New York City, being a natural port, has drawn to its shore waves of immigration throughout its existence. Largely in part to growing ethnic populations, utilizing ethnic solidarity as a platform to mobilize a political system has been common. This tactic was most prevalent during the late nineteenth century and later on during the 1960s in the form of machine politics. Machine politics as a system relied heavily upon voter loyalty through the distribution of petty material goods and services or patronage (Merton 101). This political system has often been rendered as faulty and a direct cause of two financial crises in New York City history. During the prevalence of machine politics, “to many middle and upper-class Americans, the cities seemed to be in the hands of criminals who plundered the public purse for personal gain” (Judd and Swanstrom 68). Besides the mismanagement of public funds for private agendas, another major complaint of why this political system led to more than one fiscal crisis in New York, was the fact that machine politicians rarely were elected based on merit but rather garnered support through providing patronage. Additionally, the petty favors and patronage they provided was thinly spread amongst their beneficiaries to maximize voter support and loyalty. According to some urban scholars such as Steven Erie, this system did little to provide a real basis for social upward mobility for its immigrant constituents. Eventually, the gross mismanagement of limited governmental funding coupled with the persistent demands of a growing immobilized immigrant population left this system vulnerable to being solely accountable for the financial crises which occurred in New York City.
Despite its overall contrary port...
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...s within a city. Although in theory, Neo-liberalists tout market fundamentalism, in practice, the system actively insulates those who are in power from economic externalities. This insulation creates a cyclical process of inhibiting the mobilization of the urban poor and thus creating a constant base to systemically create wealth from while having an ever-present scapegoat for budgetary deficits caused by private aggrandizing behavior (Logan and Molotch 66). Furthermore, in accordance to the growth model where the city’s land is used to create wealth upon, growth becomes merely “ a transfer of wealth and life chances from the general public to the rentier groups and their associates” (98). In New York City, present day politics has increasingly become a platform for the wealthy upper socioeconomic class to ensure their present and future scope of influence and power.
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