January 3, 2012
National Geographic's recent article, "The City Solution - Why cities are the best cure for our planet's growing pains," argues that urbanization is not only,
Making the argument, National Geographic cites Harvard economist Edward Glaeser who cites Wall Street as the "quintessence of the vibrant city."
He insists that the trading floor exemplifies the valuing of information over space and that cities in general produce more because "the absence of space between people" reduces costs on transporting goods, people, and ideas.
There is also David Satterthwaite of the
International Institute for Environment and Development, London, who
claims the problem of growing cities isn't that too many people are
being drawn into them, but rather the inability of mayors to "govern
Described is a centrally planned totalitarian dystopia literally started in the wake of the near total destruction the city saw during the Korean War and its reemergence under military dictator Park Chung-Hee.
In this model of recommended urbanization, entire districts can be bulldozed to make way for denser housing and features serving whatever the "greater good" might decide.
The metric of success and
livability is apparently the material wealth and the superficial
trappings residents adorn their uniform living quarters with,
signifying that it's not that bad after all.
What National Geographic and the experts it deferred to in writing this article fail to understand is that population distribution alone is not the determining factor of either economic prosperity or environmental impact.
It is instead what current technology makes possible with such population distributions.
In fact, a future of urbanization only makes sense if humanity is frozen technologically and that advances in transportation, energy production, manufacturing, and information technology cease to be made.
Glaeser's comments about reducing the space between people in fact undermines his entire argument for urbanization.
Already, collaboration between people who have never
met in real life, or who rarely ever meet physically is possible in
ways even 10-20 years ago would have been quite impossible, thanks
to technological innovation. The "reduction of space" between people
needs not be physical and certainly doesn't require urbanization.
Now seeing and hearing someone on the other side of the planet can be accomplished by anyone with an Internet connection and a webcam. As Internet speeds increase the ability to collaborate more seamlessly with people remotely will only be enhanced.
Similarly, advances in manufacturing
technology, as mentioned in "Globalists' Worst Nightmare" in regards
to MIT's Fab Lab project, will allow an increasing number of people
to possess the means of advanced production in their garages or even
on their own desktop, "printing" objects as easily as they now print
MIT's Fab Lab described. This is one of the many labs inspired by
the original based at MIT.
During PBS' Scientific American Frontiers episode "You Can Make it on Your Own" hosted by Alan Alda, Alda would examine a bike designed and made in MIT's Massachusetts Fab Lab.
The machines occupying a single room and available to be used by designers allowed Australian inventor Saul Griffith to create his own polycarbonate bike.
Since the design is digital and
manufactured by computer controlled machines, Griffith was able to
email the design to his sister in Australia where she was able to
use machines there to build it.
Human progress has always moved forward because of innovation and exploration.
The myriad of political solutions paraded before us by economists and politicians are cheap substitutes compensating for their lack of imagination coupled with complete technical incompetence.
Even their suggestions of putting "technocrats" in charge leaves much to be desired, especially so when the reins still lead back to their uninspired hands.
The ability to solve problems on one's
own, self-sufficiently is inexorably linked to self-determination -
not the cramming of papers into ballot boxes in pursuit of others to
handle our responsibilities and destiny for us.
To find the real cure, a proper diagnosis must first be made.
These growing pains are not due to "overpopulation" but rather the complete failure of global leadership to meet the challenge of protecting human freedom while managing the growth our ingenuity has lent us.
Innovation spurred by proper technical
education can immediately begin alleviating many of the problems we
face pursuing antiquated economic models, industrial centralization,
big-agri that is neither healthy nor efficient and many other
problems born from our current paradigm.
Future innovations can allow us to continue to expand here on Earth and beyond.
Just as exploration has expanded our habitat here on Earth, it will likewise make it possible for us to expand amongst the stars.
Already we have a permanently manned space habitat orbiting over our heads - produced by incredible engineers, however tempered by bureaucracy, budget constraints, and politics they may be.
It is entirely possible that if we took more control over our own destiny, instead of having it dictated to us by a self-serving political clique, we could not only marshal our resources toward more inspiring pursuits, but improve our access and use of available resources in ways we never imagined.
The concept of post-scarcity already presents itself to us in more realistic terms as manufacturing goes from factories to our garages and desktops.
As the cost of advanced manufacturing
decreases and the means to manufacture is decentralized, the
barriers to achieving what was once the exclusive realm of science
fiction will likewise fall, while the decisions to proceed are
It relieves them of their responsibility to truly lead, and protects them from being replaced for their infinite incompetence. All that is necessary for us to avoid ending up in this cage, is for us to get active locally in devising solutions to the problems our "leaders" refuse to adequately and permanently address.
We must not only recognize the faults within this current paradigm, we must reject it and replace it entirely. We can do so in a measured sensible way and we can start today by how we choose to spend our time, money, energy, and attention.
Whether you excel in technology,
agriculture, art, or even martial pursuits, there are local people
with whom you can connect with and begin building the world you want
to live in.