And Then the Recession Came for Hipsters...

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Here at the Atlantic, we have considered the impact of the recession on Americans responsible for making investments, and making cars, and making students. But how about the impact on Americans responsible for making, well, nothing at all? Now the recession has hit New York hipsterdom and Williamsburg wallets are feeling skinner than a pair of Levi's 511s.


According to the New York Times, the trust-fund kids who have helped gentrify Williamsburg, Brooklyn, are feeling the pinch of recession as their parents' withering savings accounts can no longer afford to cover their zero-income lifestyle:

Famed for its concentration of heavily subsidized 20-something residents -- also nicknamed trust-funders or trustafarians -- Williamsburg is showing signs of trouble. Parents whose money helped fuel one of the city's most radical gentrifications in recent years have stopped buying their children new luxury condos, subsidizing rents and providing cash to spend at Bedford Avenue's boutiques and coffee houses.

The upside and downside of this development is pretty clear. Williamsburg real estate prices have skyrocketed in the last few years -- partially on account of incomes that weren't earned in Williamsburg -- so this should help the little 'burg move toward the rest of Brooklyn in terms of affordability. It is, it must be said, unfortunate for anybody to have their lives shaken dramatically by the recession, but much as the downturn has fostered a culture of responsibility and savings, so too should the demise of trustafarianism make the sons and daughters of the affluent more cognizant of basic human things like bottom lines and debt. The ability to pursue your life dreams in your early twenties on the back of your parents' earnings is a kind of awesome gig, but in the long term it insulates you from an understanding of what life costs. A society predicated on incurring costs that it doesn't have to acknowledge is doomed too...oh wait. Nevermind that.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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