Here’s a link to a short interview I did over the weekend with Noam Chomsky for the Spirit of Contradiction site:
it’s interesting to see how much more misanthropic the mainstream “business press” has become in the last couple decades. Although a couple articles for the basic income guarantee have appeared in recent weeks, such as http://www.businessinsider.com/universal-basic-income-2013-5 this one in Business Insider and http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/11/thinking-utopian-how-about-a-universal-basic-income/ this one in the Washington Post, there is rarely a deeper discussion of “social responsibility”, optimal income distribution, or even of efficiency. This is a sign that the intellectual capacities, sine qua non of any healthy movement, of the supporters of the status quo have dropped since the neoliberal revival of the 70s and 80s.
If any of these goons had read any history, they’d be familiar with this passage, or similar ones, from their own intellectual Godfather:
“There is no reason why in a free society government should not assure to all, protection against severe deprivation in the form of an assured minimum income, or a floor below which nobody need descend. To enter into such an insurance against extreme misfortune may well be in the interest of all; or it may be felt to be a clear moral duty of all to assist, within the organised community, those who cannot help themselves. So long as such a uniform minimum income is provided outside the market to all those who, for any reason, are unable to earn in the market an adequate maintenance, this need not lead to a restriction of freedom, or conflict with the Rule of Law.”
I suppose a bit of historical knowledge is too much to ask of the contemporary press, which, as Marcuse and Fromm, as well as Innis argued, are lodged in the “perpetual Now”.
Participants at a housing innovation and infrastructure forum heard a defence of detached housing and against compact cities.
Wendell Cox, an international public policy consultant specializing in urban policy, transport and demographics, told the audience at the forum cities that have urban containment policies push up housing prices and make them less affordable.
The main problem with people like this is, they tend to look at social phenomena, here demand for affordable housing, singularly, or from a heavily constrained perspective. What is missing in statements like “No one moves to the city for good urban planning. Nobody moves to the city for the fountains. You move there because of the economic opportunity” is a general regard for life outside of sheer short term economic planning of the individual, atomistic variety. It prescribes to everyone the same self serving autarkic view and thus precludes consideration for, among others, any larger, more sweeping affects of social life.
If one considers that many of the world’s great architectural projects, and, indeed, most of the great cities were built, designed and drafted after some central plan, then it becomes easy to see where this opposition to “compact planning”, which is ultimately an opposition to planning in itself, comes from. It comes from those who are quietly and effectively leading the human species over the cliff of environmental and ecological disaster and a step closer to species extinction by and through their rather morose living habits. A word like “sustainability” would ring like a flat note with these euphoric suburbanites, who would rather have their benzedrine and remote control than consider any more endearing aspects of social existence.
If one considers the issue on a less polemic note, then it is clear why Portland, Vancouver and the other cities Cox lists zone as they do. As Robert Freilich, the man responsible for the broad outlines of urban planning in these cities, as well as dozens of others (like Houston and Honolulu) comments: “if you give people the options, they will make the right choices”. Obviously, city planners in these places have felt the exigencies of evoiding disasters like those of Boise, Idaho or Atlanta, Georgia, which suffer immense costs as a result of their lax (or nonexistant) zoning policies in the likes of massive road construction and maintenance costs. A statistic was cited some time ago in which Boise was building more roads than it had money to repair or maintain as a result of urban sprawl.
If you consider the amount of investment necessary in connecting water and utilities to far out places like the ‘Burbs, then it becomes quite reasonable that the “right choice” was made in Portland, Vancouver, etc. If there are arguments to be made about land going to waste, or being expensive, one might work more efficaciously by studying the suggestions of Georgites than in lambasting what amounts to very fair and reasonable zoning policies of districts that can’t weather extending services like transit, infrastructure and utilities way out into the boonies for no better reason than to please housing developers and land speculators. Here, the Georgites, too, might have some observations and insights of note. One might refer to the proposed tax overhaul Ireland has been in the process of introducing at the present.
Anyway, it is easy to read into comments like this: “We need to be thinking about moving urban policy from means … to objectives, to encourage and facilitate economic growth and household affluence” an appeal to cater to the tastes of “unsustainable” lifestyles of the upper middle class. There’s no reason to consider the appeal.
A really fun article in the Atlantic Monthly. .
Take home message: “Deep cuts to public sector wages and spending in Latvia turned a severe recession into a deep depression. Its “successes” today only highlight how far it fell.“
Corrugated Papermaking – Cardboard
In 1856, Englishmen, Healey and Allen, received a patent for the first corrugated or pleated paper. The paper was used to line men’s tall hats. American, Robert Gair promptly invented the corrugated cardboard box in 1870. These were pre-cut flat pieces manufactured in bulk that opened up and folded into boxes.
On December 20, 1871, Albert Jones of New York NY, patented a stronger corrugated paper (cardboard) used as a shipping material for bottles and glass lanterns.
In 1874, G. Smyth built the first single sided corrugated board-making machine. Also in 1874, Oliver Long improved upon the Jones patent and invented a lined corrugated cardboard.
One learns to expect nothing substantive from the claptrap machine. This interview was apparently taken in the context of the Boston marathon bombing:
Reporter: Many people have wondered if it took you right back to 9/11 [Nieb: I associated "take" with "decision" here and nearly swallowed my tongue, thinking hell had frozen over since a "paid-for" prop CBS, or whatever station it is, journalist was asking a relevant question (namely, "many people have [more than] wondered if you took the right decision invading Iraq). I made the mistake of reading on] , when you heard it.
Bush II: I was deeply concerned that this could have been, you know, another highly-organized attack on the country. And it still may be. I don’t know the facts. But I do know that it’s really hard to protect the homeland. Those who want to do harm only have to be right one time. And we have to be right 100% of the time. [Blah, blah, blah, ad nauseam, and then some…]