Huddled Masses of Rational Optimizers
This chapter and the next aim to solve a puzzle. Much of what’s been written about the condition of the working class in antebellum New York City, by journalists at the time and in retrospect by historians, describes a scene of dismal workshops, slums, and degradation. But if conditions for urban workers had been all that bad, why did New York City's population grow by 157 percent between 1840 and 1860?
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