Landscape organizes everything within sight.

Friday, October 17, 2008

The Floods of Heaven

For twenty years now, the consequences of this course have been hard to see: hard, because whenever the signs of damage appear, the free market was quick to label a “culture of dependence.” A term that originated in the 1970s to attack American blacks’ use of welfare, the term “culture of dependence” has been extended to a broadening sphere of parties that have any relationship with government or law. New Orleanians’ ruined houses were the result of a “culture of dependence” on federal infrastructure funds. Policing the illegal trading of faulty mortgages and bandit short-selling represents a “culture of dependence” on the state. Community organizers, Sarah Palin suggests, instill a “culture of dependence” upon organizations of teachers and workers. Any individual or group with a relationship to government or law – any form of society, that is – stands at risk of imbibing a “culture of dependence.”

A series of shocks are shaking Americans into reconsidering those stories. Disaster, like the sun, falls on the good and the bad alike; provisions against disaster, like a law-abiding financial sector, are a necessity for a functionally operating society.

The more we look at history, the deeper the case of interdependence appears.

Read my full story here:


Blogger Urbanista said...

Like the fuller story on Counter Punch. Consider the inverse where the Government does decide to assume responsibility for protection and then plunges into the whole value for money equation. If you don't know it already, check out info on the long term plan for the Norfolk Coastline, where public bodies are beginning the long slow process of trying to build a consensus that it is not possible to hold back the sea in a region that has always been coveted by the waves and probably been doomed faster by climate change. Here is a reasonable article

People will be disregarded there too based ultimately on a utilitarian calculation by government, not just a knee jerk - but rational reaction by business. Accepting interdependence doesn't automatically leads to good outcomes for all either.

But maybe the point that you're also making is that the issue is not about unintended consequences but intended neglect of the interests of those deemed too poor, too black, too troublesome compared with wealthier, 'right voting' businesses and homeowners. We'll see if the coastal retreat policies in the UK fall equally where science suggests action or whether the richer, better connected communities somehow hold onto their claims for protection. The chattering classes of Sussex are already getting organised as you can see from this article

11:40 AM  

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