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Shantytown, Stockton, California, USA

I made a visit to Stockton, California the other day and came across a jarring sight: an actual shantytown, here in America.

(Click on images for a larger view.  Note: all images are Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International by chumbawamba@zerohedge)

This is at the corner of S Grant Street and E Worth Street.  To give some geolocational context, this is the start of the neighborhood literally next door to the shantytown:

Here's more of the shantytown, which is sprawled out over several acres, with lots of empty space in between each hovel (for now at least...plenty of room for development!)  The first photo is around the corner from the part shown above as viewed from S Stanislaus Street.  The second is a few hundred feet away as seen from E Hazelton Avenue:

   

You'll recall that the City of Stockton declared bankruptcy in 2013.  I've had business in Stockton since about 2009, primarily around the dead center of the downtown, and the place is definitely depressed.  A lot of small businesses in and around the downtown are closed.  A small general store that I patronized to make photocopies one day wasn't there when I needed copies made a few months later.  It's hard to even find a convenience or liquor store to get something as simple as a soda.  The only place I see doing a bustling business is the county courthouse, and the surrounding legal firms and notaries.  I think Stockton will eventually recover, as there are a lot of good real estate deals to be had, and they've made some infrastructure investments and improvements (primarily in prettying up the downtown harbor area with a nice cinema and shops) but any real recovery is probably not going to come until private money starts to flow in to re-develop this old, large and very interesting city.  But what do I know.  It might just get worse and stay a shithole for decades, like Detroit.

After I got back home I did a search and found this report on a local Fox News affiliate (includes video of the shantytown) from July 10 of this year.  It includes this quote:

"People don’t get moved out they’ll sort of set up shop for awhile,” Jon Mendelson, the Associate Director with Central Valley Housing told FOX40. The Central Valley Housing Organization said a lack of shelters and support programs may be contributing to these semi-permanent communities.

 

"Well the tents and shantytowns are certainly not a permanent solution,” Mendelson claimed.

 

The organization said a more viable option would be to provide housing and rehabilitation programs.

 

"It includes just basic life skills and support that a lot of folks on the streets don’t have right now,” Mendelson told us.

They want to teach these people "basic life skills"?  I'd say the ability to assemble your own shelter (if crude) is a basic life skill.  These people don't need social services, they need a fucking revolution in government, as do we all.  The Banksters that have commandeered our government created this fucking disgrace.

I've traveled a fair bit to various parts of the world and have seen shantytowns in the Middle East and central and South America, so it's not like I haven't witnessed something like this before.  But when I accidentally came across this shantytown right here in America--the ostensibly "greatest nation on earth"--it was a disconcerting sight.  I know we had tent cities form at the peak of the last crisis a few years ago, but this is a straight up shantytown: destitute people making shelters with whatever garbage they can find.  As an aside, it should come as no surprise that the streets around this area are filled with hookers, drug dealers, and all manner of shady characters.

A big part of this, I'm sure, is the lack of affordable housing anywhere.  These people are just at the last rung of the housing ladder.  Housing prices in California (for both sales and rentals) are at all time highs.  It's ridiculous.  I see shacks in the part of the SF Bay Area where I live renting for $500+/mo.

A big component of this price inflation in housing we have now is the result of unchecked American consumption throughout the 2000s.  Sow and reap.  Follow me now: the Fed made credit cheap, everyone partook of the credit binge buffet and bought enormous loads of shit like new cars, boats, vacation homes, etc.  All this shit (or major components of) was manufactured in China.  Americans sent gobs of money to China which, in return, sent back gobs of cheap products and raw materials.  So Americans became shit rich but money poor, and the Chinese (the connected ones at least) became nigger rich.  Now, these newly rich Chinese with more dollars than they know what to do with, trying to keep them from the clutches of the Chinese government (understandably so), are coming to America with their piles of dollars, and what are they doing with them?  Investing in American real estate.  Paying cash for million dollar houses, bidding them up 50-100% over asking price.  So as a result we have $2 million shacks for sale in Palo Alto, and shantytowns in Stockton.

I saw this coming years ago.  Jim Willie talked about a "Chinese colonization" in his newsletters, and that's exactly what is happening.  I don't believe it's a concerted strategical move by China (though it could be) but rather the result of an organic move of capital naturally fleeing a despotically greedy regime.  Whatever the case, the fact remains the Chinese are taking over California real estate (and I believe single-handedly propping up Tesla), and pricing natives (like me) out of the market, and at the lower end of the spectrum the result of this inflation is shantytowns.  Oh well, this is still (if vaguely) a capitalist system.  I don't complain, I just wait for the next down cycle (I believe we're peaking now), and will take advantage of Chinese dumping their formerly very desirable California properties for whatever they can get, just like the Japanese had to do in the early 90s after they bought up the USA with all their imported dollars (acquired selling cheap shit to the USA from the 70s through the 80s) and forgot or were just too ignorant to understand that things work in cycles: what goes up shall eventually come down.  History doesn't always repeat, but it rhymes, so I'll be a patient boy and wait in the shadows for the next trough.

In the meantime, I expect to see this shantytown expand.  Perhaps some cash rich Chinese will come in and buy up the best plots.

I am Chumbawamba.