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Chapter 10 | Capitalism | Market (Economics)

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CHAPTER 10. THE MESSY PROCESS OF GETTING THERE aa --and then all the people cheered again, and one man, who was more excited than the rest, flung his hat high into the air, and shouted (as well as I could make out) Who roar for the Sub-Warden? Everybody roared, but whether it was for the Sub-Warden, or not, did not clearly appear: some were shouting Bread! and some Taxes! , but no one seemed to know what it was they really wanted. Lewis Carol’s Sylvie and Bruno Who controls the past, Ing
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  CHAPTER 10. THE MESSY PROCESS OF GETTING THERE aa--and then all the people cheered again, and one man, who was more excitedthan the rest, flung his hat high into the air, and shouted (as well as I couldmake out) Who roar for the Sub-Warden? Everybody roared, but whether itwas for the Sub-Warden, or not, did not clearly appear: some were shouting Bread! and some Taxes! , but no one seemed to know what it was theyreally wanted. Lewis Carol’s Sylvie and Bruno   Who controls the past, Ingsoc told its cadres, controls the future: whocontrols the present, controls the past. George Orwell's  Nineteen Eighty-Four  . GardenWorld is inevitable. Really. Biotech, nanotech, and emerging needsdriven by climate, food, energy and less travel will carry us there. But it will be painful because lots of old institutions, money and locations will fail, and resistfailing. So the more attractive the goal is, the easier it will be, and the happier for everyone. The old split between conservative “no change needed” and progressive“change a lot” policies has broken down. Now each person, each party, eachapproach is putting together a different mixed collection of changes and preserving. Conservatives are for “change” at least as much as progressives. Insome cases more so.The question is, what do you care about and what does it mean we keep andwhat does it mean we need to change. In the great conservative novel, Lampadusa's The Leopard  , Tancred, with serious reflection says, ``If we want things to stay thesame, things will have to change'' OK, which things change, which should stay thesame? That is the political question today. John Maynard Keynes once said, “Ittake 90% of human effort to keep things from getting worse.”, and the people  doing that 90% usually don't want their part to change much, and we should recallthe cautionary in the message of the paradoxical aphorisms:  plus ça change, plusc'est la même chose . Change is more an illusion than we suppose, and human beings remain recognizably similar through the centuries and across civilizations.This recognition that the future is more like the past than we have been sold,has led some thoughtful people to the kind of post modernism which puts together  pieces of the past in a collage of symbolically suggestive ways. Our task is to findcoherence in this rummaging through the past. Architects like John Carl Warneckehave made conservation and restoration a good part of future design in the contextof sensitivity to the whole designed and built environment and its coherence.The world economy and environment will require either more war, or a newculture of economics which is more fair and friendly to the environment. We knowthat we cannot bring 4/5’s of humanity to the US level of energy and spaceconsumption. Nor can the US maintain that level of consumption under anythinglike current assumptions.. GardenWorld is attuned to the need for an economy thatis both human and environmentally friendly – and recognizes that it will be verydifficult to get there. But very attractive, as goal and task.Our goernments are also creature of habit and status and fear. Governance isdifficult. All change hurts some people while helping others. Change mostly hurtsthose who are running things the way they are. Some change is brought about bydirect human action but most of the is the unintended consequences of actionstaken, often long ago. The founding fathers, in order to prevent tyranny, created asystem of checks and balances that basically meant government did not work verywell and was hard to control, and especially hard to take over and dominate. Butthe founding fathers did not anticipate the rise and then dominance of thecorporations. Nor did they imagine having to deal with large systems problems of water depletion, failure of economics to employ most people for their own benefit,the dominance – and failure – of energy flows, in short, to manage complexity anddemographics. Can we do it without fascism?Societies that allow evolution have an advantage. Old empires are always introuble the leaders that dominate either want to continue to dominate –whichmeans keeping things the way they are – or, in the sighting of trouble to bail out – which means they won’t try to manage change. They do not enter into the spirit of the new but unacknowledged problems, but chose self-protection.    The problem is made more difficult because of our history. Kings, from saythe 16 century, rewarded merchants and professionals with title to land. The abilityof the Kings to take back that title was blocked by political moves, and its broader ownership by large landholders turned was into a law of nature by philosopherslike Locke, who said property came before kings. Over time those property holdersgot rid of Kings and were able to buy parliaments. Kings and democracies tend tohave an interest in the welfare of everybody. But oligopolies have narrow interestsand are prepared to manage society for their own interests alone. This is of courseshortsighted but understandable. Yet it leaves the rest of us in a difficult situation.In this situation governance is very difficult because anyone who tries totake on the real problems will find themselves without a financial base to enter  politics. Moreover anyone already in government who tries to take on the real problems will find themselves isolated. There are a lot of decent people inCongress right now, but we rarely hear their voices except in committee hearingson C-span.Their sane discourse is ignored by the press in favor of confict and thedrama of ruined careers..I’ve been watching local politics. The goal of the political establishment isto have a few hundred small issues and no large ones. Large issues bring too many people to the Council meetings. The real problem is that if the local environment ismade better – building, education, health, living – more people will come andswamp the system and increase costs faster than local economic growth. This iswhat local politics is struggling with. To me it implies that we must get involved atthe local level and help out. “We are here to help the government.”David Sirota recently wrote   At bookstore events in every corner of the country, the discussion isalmost completely national focused. Who will be the vice presidentialnominees? What will the latest scandal mean for the presidential  candidates? How can Democrats or Republicans win the congressionalelection? The queries, of course, reflect homogenized news from aconsolidated media industry that increasingly provides cheap-to-produce, cheaper-to-replicate federal-level horse-race speculationinstead of detailed local coverage. The result is that Americans obsessover distant political soap operas and palace dramas while neglectingpressing issues in their backyards.   It's also terrific that we can have truly national conversations aboutpresidential campaigns and difficult issues like race. Then again, it's notgreat that our best-known commodities in this culture are fast-foods,gas-guzzling SUVs, and subpar Will Smith movies. It's also bad that wemore often end up having national conversations about celebritybreakups -- and that when we do talk politics, Washington, D.C., isconsidered more important than what happens in our own state capitolsand city councils. Indeed, in making anywhere into everywhere,homogenization has swallowed up not only our downtowns, restaurantsand radio stations, but even our understanding of American democracy.(fn   http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_9844246Anywhere BecomesEverywhere By David Sirota Creators Syndicate, 7/11/08 )   We will see lots of initiatives to create incentives for green building. Thedeal will be that business will move into this realm if incentives make profitsguaranteed. The problem with this model is that it will maintain elite moneyed people in the center of the activity, and they will leave marginalized whatever andwhoever does not fit. Believe me, the level playing field we need to move towardGardenWorld will be subverted by corruption and cronyism. The bureaucratizationof GardenWorld by existing institutions is a real threat to the fuller participationGardenWorld aims for. This is made harder when we realize that the governmentsat all levels must play a positive role in conferences, plannings, skills training,health and land use regulations. We probably need a faster permit process for green buildings and planning, but we must avoid slower certainly avoid slower 
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