What does your city tell you? (bad news for DC-ites)

Nathanael Yellis By Nathanael Yellis • Last Updated May 18, 2021

Paul Graham defines ambitious cities as those that send an overwhelming cultural message to their residents. These places tell people that the upstream climb is admirable:

Economic power, wealth, and social class are just names for the same thing at different stages in its life: economic power converts to wealth, and wealth to social class. So the focus of admiration is simply shifting upstream. 

In his essay Cities and Ambition, on what cities make for the best startup companies, he remarks on DC:

In DC the message seems to be that the most important thing is who you know. You want to be an insider. In practice this seems to work much as in LA. There’s an A List and you want to be on it or close to those who are. The only difference is how the A List is selected. And even that is not that different.

Bad news for DC-ites: Washington isn't telling us good things.


Read other posts