YouTube video "Rats, Public Defecation And Open Drug Use: Major Western Cities Are Becoming Uninhabitable Hellholes"

I lived in San Fran in the late 80’s - early 90’s. I do not recognize what was shown in this video as the same city! It is truly a sad situation.

So they’re becoming more like Detroit?

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This is a real alarming situation, I’ve lived and visited cities with a lot of homeless but this appears to be becoming something else.

I also watched a bicyclist with a camera on his helmet ride through a homeless area, it was so lengthy. I don’t care to name that city. We need to fix this problem wherever it happens.

They’re dealing with typhus in downtown LA. Oh wait, that is only supposed to happen in developing countries…

Wasn’t there a time when the politicians were more interested in fixing these problems and creating jobs instead of playing identity politics and screaming “cultural appropriation” because someone modified a recipe?


If rats and public defecation indicate the collapse of civilization, then it was collapsing even as it was budding.

On open drug use, depends on the culture and what’s classified as a drug.

In short -

“Ain’t nothin’ new under the sun”.


The Roman slums were bigger than the rest of the city.

We’re just not aware of it because it’s the remnants of the big pretty marble, stone and brick buildings that endured to the present.

Detroit? Guess again!

Oddly, wealth seems to be a major problem here. To use Seattle and San Francisco as examples, both cities have had tons of relatively wealthy people flow into them because of their tech scenes among a couple other lucrative ones. This brings in a lot of people with six figure salaries, and you can imagine the strain that that puts on housing - rapidly increasing demand, with much of that demand coming from people who can afford higher rents and housing prices. And that’s before considering outside investors who may buy a house for no other reason than to let its price go up, again creating problems with supply/demand. And escaping this isn’t as simple as moving 30 minutes from the city center. It’s everywhere, and there’s no easy solution because:

  1. This goes beyond a citywide problem, even if the worst of it is in the major cities. In the Bay Area’s case, it is no longer even a county-wide problem.
  2. Tech is still expanding and still lucrative, and the world’s wealthiest companies have already established themselves in these areas. Not only does this mean they’re bringing in talent, but startups and competitors often expand in the area hoping to poach talent.
  3. If you do almost anything to intervene, you risk exacerbating one of the problems. Even the usual ideas of subsidies and lowering taxes aren’t guaranteed to work. (As an anecdote: When I was in Seattle, a subsidized studio could still go for $1200 - $1300/month, and there was a waiting list for certain subsidized housing programs.)

With all that said, these places are hardly “uninhabitable hellholes”. Are you going to see homeless people and homeless camps? Yeah, probably, and it is a bit shocking. Are the areas like literal slums? Hardly, and I’d imagine the people claiming so haven’t been near an actual slum in a place like India. Sure, I wouldn’t walk near a homeless camp late at night, but the situation, at least as far as I’ve seen, is far from the image of constantly stepping over drugged-out crazies and their poop that some people seem to try painting.

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You need to show it proportionally or it is meaningless. NYC is by far the largest city in the country.


I find it incredible that Americans have so much money to spend on wars, but very little to help homeless Americans in need. I like the plan of Alexandra Ocasio Cortez to stop these useless wars and to guarantee these homeless people a job to help them out. In 2017, it was calculated that the US spent $5.6 trillion on wars in the Middle East and Asia since 2001. Of course, it is much more than that by now and this is just the cost since 2001. I believe that these wars are counterproductive and I don’t see why the US military budget has to be so high. This year the US defense budget was $686 billion whereas the defense budget of the Russian Federation was about $61 billion. Why does the US need to spend ten times more than Russia on their defense budget?
The US spent billions on the Vietnam war and suffered more than 58000 casualties. And what was the result of spending all this money and having so many thousands of people killed?


Population of Detroit metro is 4.2 million.
“The 2018 “point-in-time” count done on a single day in January by volunteers from local homeless services agencies and the city, led by the nonprofit Homeless Action Network of Detroit, turned up 1,769 people experiencing homelessness in the three cities covered by the Detroit Continuum of Care, down 15 percent from last year.”

.04% of the Detroit population is homeless.

Apparently they are bringing down the numbers of homeless a lot in Detroit using the “housing first” model that has been successful in Salt Lake.

First, out of curiosity, when an American sees the phrase ‘western cities’, do they immediately think ‘cities on the west coast of the USA’? I thought ‘cities of the western world’, i.e. New York, Toronto, London, Paris, Berlin, etc.

Anyway… I was last on the west coast of the USA over 20 years ago and back then it seemed pretty idyllic. I always used to say, if I ever lived outside of Europe, I’d want to live in California. But some friends of mine were on the west coast just last year and they were shocked by the social problems, which they say are not like anything one would see on the streets of any European city (I guess perhaps excluding Russia, Ukraine, and Bosnia and Herzegovina, all of which have significant homelessness problems). And I guess that this must be quite a specific problem to the west coast, or to major cities, because the USA actually has overall a lower rate of homelessness compared with some European countries.

They highlighted the main problems as being mental illness and drug addiction and said that there were clearly a lot of people with mental health problems and/or drug addiction who were homeless and didn’t appear to be accessing any kind of health or social care. We guessed that the main problem is the relative lack of a safety net for people whose lives for one reason or another begin to go off the rails. Certainly the problem of homelessness seems to have relatively little to do with the overall wealth of society. In Europe there is more of a homelessness problem in rich countries such as the UK, France, and Germany than there is in relatively poorer countries such as Poland, Romania, and Portugal. The Polish welfare system, for example, is famously generous. In the UK, on the other hand, society has become increasingly hostile towards the poor, the ill, the disabled, and the unemployed. We are a society that now talks about ‘workers and shirkers’ and ‘strivers and skivers’. Whereas large families in Poland are given more benefits in recognition of the additional cost to the family and the greater benefit to society, British families now receive child benefit only for the first two children. These kinds of policies presumably go some way towards explaining why some rich countries have more social problems than some poorer ones. On the other hand, I should have assumed that the west coast of the USA would have in fact had more European-style welfare spending, but maybe I’m wrong.

Finally, does anyone know why the narrator is English? Is he an Englishman who went to America to be a journalist? I guess he must be.

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Indeed. 19th century London comes to mind.

I think it’s the longterm effects of the breakdown of the family, plus a minimal social safety net, which is what we have in the US. European-style social safety net is more comprehensive, so the effects of the breakdown of the family are different and less apparent.

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Yes, I thought the same thing about “Western cities” - - that is was referring to Western as in American/ European cities, not just the West coast of the US.

As for the English narrator - - don’cha know that the British accent gives it an air of class, sophistication and polish? Undoubtedly he is better-educated than an American and just plain smarter. (Maybe!) :smile:

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California is warm year round so it’s OK to have people living outside.

For most of Canada, being homelessness during winter would literal kill given the temperatures so some of the country’s homelessness problem is masked by climate.

What amazes me is Silicon Valley wants and is waiting for higher taxes on everyone (except for themselves of course, which is why they lobby for preferential treatment) but they themselves do little to help relative to their enormous wealth.

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British accent? You mean the RP accent? I got corrected by a British friend about the huge number of different accents in the UK.

Apparently the RP or Received Pronunciation, is considered the standard for BBC news announcers.


Londoner said it - - not me! :zipper_mouth_face:

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