Sure, having a walkable urban center where everyone lives close to the things they need and they don't create dystopian traffic is great.

But company housing, tenements, indebted servitude, working hours from can't-see until can't-see, is all a spectre from our not-so-distant past which we have mostly forgotten about. Well it's coming back. A labor revolution gave us such amazing leaps in dignity and basic humanity which were sorely lacking after the eruption of the industrial revolution. We take that entirely for granted now, like it can't come back and get us. It can.

People in America are just not educated enough about the horrors of the labor revolution. Our own, not the communist's overseas. Unions exist in this strange historical agnosticism, and people only know them as some kind of cartoon, a mob-ruled bureaucracy that enables hilariously lazy laborers to cite ridiculous rules and get in the way of progress. Well they weren't always that way. It is not common human decency that stops the captains of industry from merely hiring private police forces to mow bad workers down with rifles and artillery. That's our past as well as our cyberpunk future. That stuff can come back if we don't keep maintaining the levee between it and us.

People have an instinct to normalize and rationalize things which happen slowly compared to a human lifetime. Well there's a very real and disastrous difference today in how people work and maintain a decent living. It's becoming more and more like back when a decent living was only reserved for the insanely wealthy, the richest of the rich. Everyone else toiled in disease and squalor fourteen hours a day, breaking their bodies, without any possessions of their own; everything belonged to the company, and they worked just for the privilege to live a week at a time. It really wasn't that long ago. We like to hope that if it comes back we'll still be behind the fence of the upper-middle class, safe from the horror. But the vast majority of us won't.

Working is taking up more and more of our days. Gone is the 8 hours work, 8 hours rest, 8 hours leisure. It's going back to "as many hours as you can physically go without sleep" once again. No benefits, no retirement, no healthcare, no affordable higher education, no affordable family housing aside from company closet tenements with communal utilities, next to a corporate campus but far from a town center. Out in the suburbs with one company store. That will come back in our complacence. Fewer opportunities than our fathers.