Do We Need To Make Stuff Again?-From Joel Kotkin: ‘The Real Winners Of The Global Economy: The Material Boys’

Full piece here.

‘Something strange happened on the road to our much-celebrated post-industrial utopia. The real winners of the global economy have turned out to be not the creative types or the data junkies, but the material boys: countries, states and companies that have perfected the art of physical production in agriculture, energy and, remarkably, manufacturing.’

Urbanists love to hate Joel Kotkin, as he has offered them much in the way of criticism.  At the New Urbanist website, I found the following quote:

“Only when humans are again permitted to build authentic urbanism — those cities, towns, and villages that nurture us by their comforts and delights — will we cease the despoiling of Nature by escaping to sprawl.”

So much for the suburbs and the economic freedom and opportunity to live in them and get your kids into the best school possible.  I can’t blame people for wanting alternatives from L.A.’s notorious sprawl, but it’s good to see Kotkin has at least hit a nerve when he’s called both merely a ‘media pundit’ and an ‘Irvine company shill.’

In Seattle, they’ve secured some funding for Yesler Terrace.

Here’s Kotkin again:

‘The growth of basic industries also creates demand for high-end business services — everything from architects and investment bankers to data-miners, advertising, and public relations firms — concentrated in such places as San Francisco, Seattle, New York, and Boston.’

We need energy, and perhaps we need again to stay competitive.  Perhaps we’re not just in a global world united by technology, where we will control the knowledge and creativity, able to manage the best international institutions possible.  Perhaps despite the benefits, those summits for rich people to come together and solve the world’s problems aren’t all there is to it (remarkably like the Eurocratic vision).  We’re also in a competition for resources.

Kotkin is again throwing some cold water on the vision of some people:

Greens and activists who want to control and regulate the energy sector according to their understanding of nature.  Or they at least will control much lawmaking and the political process through activism, while directing massive amounts of federal taxpayer money to developing this vision (chosen and controlled by politicians whom they favor).  Whatever’s going on with the climate, they’re usually willing to overlook the political waste, corruption, higher costs of gas and basic services and fewer jobs that could make us like Europe, without many of the benefits.

The products of modernism and modernist architecture.  Some modernists believe in utopian and semi-utopian visions of the future, or simply, a better world where people should be rounded up and live happily according the visions of a few artists, architects, and city-planners.  They don’t like the suburbs too much.

Collectivists, humanists and multicultural types who like a broad, ‘equality of outcome,’ definition of democracy and believe there will be room for everyone, all races and classes, in the new urban environment (more like European social democrats) if just the right people are in charge.

Anyone with a monied, career or professional, personal or identity-based stake in this vision.

Think I’ve got this wrong?  Let me know if you disagree with Kotkin’s numbers or his interpretation.

Here’s Kotkin’s book, ‘The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050.

Addition: See the comments at Alexandria.

***A least Tony Hsieh, in Las Vegas, is putting up his own money and his own connections to create a more livable Las Vegas as he sees it:


Related On This Site: Underneath a lot of the social sciences are other ideas, about how people should live and what we should do: From Joel Kotkin: ‘The Suburbs Could Save President Obama From Defeat’Joel Kotkin Via Youtube: ‘Illinois Is In A Competition’From The WSJ: ‘Joel Kotkin: The Great California Exodus’Joel Kotkin At Forbes: ‘Is Perestroika Coming In California?’

Are these the enemies of the future?: Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘How The Elites Built America’s Economic Wall’

See Also:  Briton Roger Scruton perhaps also wants America to be more like Europe, less rootless, wasteful, and tramping the flowers.  In modernism’s place (souless airports, blank modern facades speaking only to themselves) Scruton suggests Leon Krier’s New Urbanism and a return to more Classical architectureRepost: Roger Scruton In The City Journal: Cities For Living–Is Modernism Dead?

Brasilia: A Planned City and Review Of Britain’s “Lost Cities” In The Guardian