[Marxism] "No man who has a house and lot can be a communist. He has too much to do."
jonflanders at jflan.net
Fri Apr 15 20:47:17 MDT 2005
On Fri, 2005-04-15 at 09:50 -0400, Louis Proyect wrote:
> Model Houses for the Millions:
> The Making of the American Suburban Landscape, 1820-2000
> Dolores Hayden
> © 2000
<<......Most of all, the Long Emergency will require us to make other
arrangements for the way we live in the United States. America is in a
special predicament due to a set of unfortunate choices we made as a
society in the twentieth century. Perhaps the worst was to let our towns
and cities rot away and to replace them with suburbia, which had the
additional side effect of trashing a lot of the best farmland in
America. Suburbia will come to be regarded as the greatest misallocation
of resources in the history of the world. It has a tragic destiny. The
psychology of previous investment suggests that we will defend our
drive-in utopia long after it has become a terrible liability.
Before long, the suburbs will fail us in practical terms. We made the
ongoing development of housing subdivisions, highway strips, fried-food
shacks and shopping malls the basis of our economy, and when we have to
stop making more of those things, the bottom will fall out.
The circumstances of the Long Emergency will require us to downscale and
re-scale virtually everything we do and how we do it, from the kind of
communities we physically inhabit to the way we grow our food to the way
we work and trade the products of our work. Our lives will become
profoundly and intensely local. Daily life will be far less about
mobility and much more about staying where you are. Anything organized
on the large scale, whether it is government or a corporate business
enterprise such as Wal-Mart, will wither as the cheap energy props that
support bigness fall away. The turbulence of the Long Emergency will
produce a lot of economic losers, and many of these will be members of
an angry and aggrieved former middle class.
Food production is going to be an enormous problem in the Long
Emergency. As industrial agriculture fails due to a scarcity of oil- and
gas-based inputs, we will certainly have to grow more of our food closer
to where we live, and do it on a smaller scale. The American economy of
the mid-twenty-first century may actually center on agriculture, not
information, not high tech, not "services" like real estate sales or
hawking cheeseburgers to tourists. Farming. This is no doubt a
startling, radical idea, and it raises extremely difficult questions
about the reallocation of land and the nature of work. The relentless
subdividing of land in the late twentieth century has destroyed the
contiguity and integrity of the rural landscape in most places. The
process of readjustment is apt to be disorderly and improvisational.
Food production will necessarily be much more labor-intensive than it
has been for decades. We can anticipate the re-formation of a
native-born American farm-laboring class. It will be composed largely of
the aforementioned economic losers who had to relinquish their grip on
the American dream. These masses of disentitled people may enter into
quasi-feudal social relations with those who own land in exchange for
food and physical security. But their sense of grievance will remain
fresh, and if mistreated they may simply seize that land.
The way that commerce is currently organized in America will not survive
far into the Long Emergency. Wal-Mart's "warehouse on wheels" won't be
such a bargain in a non-cheap-oil economy. The national chain stores'
12,000-mile manufacturing supply lines could easily be interrupted by
military contests over oil and by internal conflict in the nations that
have been supplying us with ultra-cheap manufactured goods, because
they, too, will be struggling with similar issues of energy famine and
all the disorders that go with it..........>>
James Howard Kunstler "The Long Emergency"
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