The King of Santomas is Elliot Bergman, who founded a high-tech firm that you are all familiar with and many of you have used today. He is a bazillionaire and the quintessential Santomas millionnaire: a liberal eccentric workoholic. Those that live in the silicollege town of Santomas that have not eschewed capitalism altogether want to be Bergman one day. Not only does his company keep the city employed, but his example is the bunny-on-a-stick that keeps people on the treadmill.

The latest hip thing in Santomas is to eat kosher, whether you’re jewish or not. It’s what the cool kids do. Money gives you the opportunity to buy kosher. Buying kosher gives you something to talk to Sally Bergman about when you’re invited to her parties. The other huge thing here is organic food, which is getting bigger everywhere.

In Santomas, money buys status by way of authenticity. Organic and kosher aren’t about the health or spiritual benefits, but rather of being more in touch with… something. It means spending $50 at a vintage store what you could have bought at a second-hand store for $4. It’s about putting your zip code on your bumper sticker so that you can tell everyone that you live in that one zip code that hasn’t been run over by bulldozers and brought up to building codes.

This is in stark contrast to my home city of Colosse, where I suppose a more traditional view of wealth takes hold. Being wealthy means being able to wear not the coolest stuff, but the nicest stuff. You get to eat not at the restaurants that are expensive becuase they’re hip but the ones that are expensive because they flew a chef over from France. Wealth in Colosse means being able to buy a nice house, not an old house in an authentic neighborhood.

I don’t know that either form of wealth is right for me, which is good because it’s unlikely that I will ever be wealthy. Nonetheless, I find the contrast interesting.


Category: Downtown

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One Response to The Wealth of Cities

  1. Becky says:

    It’s interesting knowing who you’re referencing and which cities, and you are so right with the contrast. Kind of like old money vs. new money.

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