"At ground level, most of the human labor that assembles and fabricates these new seats at wealth’s table is veiled behind temporary metal scaffolding and dark green plywood walls covered in ads for another inaccessible season of luxury clothing. Above, the nascent buildings pupate shrouded in cocoons of safety-orange plastic netting. Obscured behind these temporary barriers actual human beings still drive the earth movers and cranes, pour the cement, and rivet together the steel I-beams. In another generation, this work might be performed by machines tele-operated over the internet from Nigeria or Indonesia, in another two generations by autonomous robots—but today actual living men and women commute in and work on site.
Who builds these buildings? Along with money, human beings also gush into Gotham City to service the money’s desires. From distant working-class enclaves in the outer boroughs. From the suburbs and the exurbs. From Mexico and Central America. From across the globe. “Legal" residents and migrants without papers—all in search of a living and a better life for their family. A never-ending grind for food and clothing and shelter and children."
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