So as discussed often enough the keys to good policy are 1. glutted land substitutes (high-rise, basements, roads under the ground) 2. Phasing to growth-deflation monetary policy (Gross business revenues always climb but never so fast that prices stop falling) … 3. Phasing to more cash than debt (or at least vastly improved cash/debt ratios) 4. Phasing out fractional reserve banking, 5. Immediately dropping any tax on sole trader retained earnings (they may pay their tax on excessive land holdings, or on drawings, but never even one dollar on retained profits and that is something we should jump to immediately rather than phase in) and 6. Meeting Henry George part-way.
But what clues do we have as to the exact rollout of these transformations. One way is to project forward what sort of a society would really work fantastically. And then reverse-engineer those policy settings that would more or less naturally lead to these outcomes given maybe two hundred years of organic transformation.
So lets kick off some analysis as to what we would want from city layout. Personally I would want these little bursts of high-rise with sixty acre permaculture farms on all sides. Maybe thats a bit too extreme. Maybe thats more of a thousand year transformation. Not a two hundred year one. I don’t have totally firm and worked out ideas on this. Like if you want all the answers for monetary policy I have all those answers. I consider myself the expert. I have all the transitional strategies. Thats a big topic though, so I’m putting off that one until the Christmas holidays.
One reason I don’t have all the answers for city layout is that I haven’t figured out how to make tall buildings sensationally beautiful yet. And you really don’t want ugly tall buildings. We who have lived through 20th Century architecture have been beaten down by the typical brutalitarian ugliness of tall buildings and thats why a lot of my ideas to do with high-rise expressed on Catallaxy, which I would have thought were obviously right, weren’t readily accepted. I cannot blame people for not being keen on a relentless glut of high-rise. Though it was the only way to give us first world wages with third world living costs.
This is also why I am very appreciative of the work of Roger Scruton. Bringing his philosophical training to try and look into the idea of beauty. So important. We need to know how to create beauty in advance. In advance of putting up a 30 story tapered building in a small town. I don’t think any council should object to a design on the basis of height. Thats plain anti-social. But they ought not let up a building that is going to be ugly. Because thats child abuse, elder abuse, and every type of other abuse in between. A councillor of a small town should show her enthusiasm for tall buildings. She should be almost orgasmic about them. But she should demand that the developer take all the time in the world getting the design of the building perfect. Because once its up, if we are not zionist terrorist Jews like Silverstein ……… we will expect it to stay up for maybe two hundred years.
Anyway here is a post I made elsewhere that I will use to kick off the topic of city layout. I would really want to be assailed by a lot of ideas on this matter so I could carve out a working ideology about it:
Try Science KT-2. It works for me. On another matter have we really thought through our city layouts? On the news in Sydney this week we had a survey on travelling times in Sydney. 71 minutes a day was the average commute for civilians who work in one place. But tradesmen were stuck in their gas guzzling van/truck for (from memory) 2 hours and 40 minutes per day or something close to it. Now this is a disaster as far as productivity is concerned.
You have people who make things and people who build things, and then there are many people who seldom do anything very useful for us over the longest run. In the second category its usually tradesmen. The skill set for building things is primarily in the minds of our tradesmen. So here they are wasting time every day in traffic. Now supposing they want to employ an offsider to teach and ride in the truck as well? How is a tradesman going to afford a young offsider to teach and help him, if he’s running into overtime most days, simply because everyone is stuck in the vehicle?
What would a city look like that cut down on these travel times? Maybe it would take up one tenth the ground area, have one million people and not four million people, with as many of the roads underground as you could possibly manage and first class public transport. Plus the roads financed by congestion taxes but only at peak times. Free travel the rest of the time so that we can manufacture goods and build things more cheaply than the people in other cities.
I don’t know if the answer looks like this, but it bears thinking about because this time spent in the vehicle by tradesman is a major break on economic performance. I want to close down maybe twenty or thirty government departments to make finance available for a communist department of tunnelling. The M4 opened days ago and its amazing how much time this humble tunnel can save people if they are criss-crossing the city.
We really need a communist department of tunnelling and a communist department for the development of canals. Some of these outfits need a 5000 year time horizon if we want to produce glorious outcomes.
Chairman Mao said: “Dig tunnels deep, store grain everywhere, and never seek hegemony.” This needs an update but its pretty good advice right there I would have thought.