A modest proposal

It used to be a melancholy object for me that some places suffer from far higher unemployment than others, but no longer, thanks to the learned Doctor Tim Leunig.

He explains so clearly and beautifully that we should not worry about the regeneration of deprived areas since it is impossible anyway. Instead “everyone should have the opportunity to leave failing towns and cities and move to more prosperous, thriving areas”.

It is truly inspiring to see someone brave enough to take on this government’s recklessly ambitious approach to regeneration. They are apparently poring billions upon billions into schemes to regenerate poorer areas and this must stop.

Inspiring too to read someone calling for an end to restriction of movement in the United Kingdom. After all, how can we truly call ourselves free if we are not even allowed to move town? Dr Leunig is brave enough to argue against those people who would legally restrict where we can move. Thanks to his leadership no one will force us to live in the towns of our birth.

Now, far be it from me to raise a note of criticism about the good Doctor’s work but I was confused to read advice from a similarly learned writer in America. Matthew Yglesias’ very well researched book is daring and brave enough to tell us all to stop complaining about high rents in places like London and New York. After all, if we want low rents we can just move to Detroit.

Wise advice. But it seems that the unemployed should be moving to London or New York to find work but to Detroit or Burrows to buy their house. You can, perhaps, understand my confusion.

That is why I have come up with this modest proposal. A happy medium between these two fantastically practical and erudite positions. We should have slum
housing in London. Before you shout me down you should know that no less a respected magazine as The Economist recently called for exactly that, writing that “Cities need poor housing”.

There are many advantages to my proposal including creating a huge pool of cheap labour to work long and hard to enrich a small number of wealthy business owners. Not only can you work for next to nothing under this system, but you will also still be able to afford rent.

I should note, just at the end, that I myself will not be able to live in slum housing as I already have a place in Camden but I hope that this will not distract the reader from what I believe to be a very fair and workable idea.