Tag Archives: economic aspects

(1155) Grenfell


Here are two thoughtful pieces regarding the atrocious fire in a tower block in London on the 15th.  We can’t help but feel that London’s economic regime, aided and abetted by public policy, produced this fire.  People in authority need to go to jail.
UK public money is available for wars in the Middle East, for surveillance programs run by intelligence agencies, and extensive agricultural subsidies.  The local government body  responsible for the building recently handed out a property tax rebate and is one of the wealthiest in Britain with large amounts of money on hand.  Real property in London represents a vast and profitable churn of billions of pounds yearly and social housing has been a component of that for many years.  Why so little for the Grenfell’s residents?
Already there are several clear lines of responsibility leading to both government and business which indicate the fire would have been prevented had some fairly moderate things been tended to.   Unfortunately, the neoliberal economic regime in the UK is a beast now quite skilled at defending itself from acquiring responsibility for disasters of every kind from questionable privatization drives to botched wars.  We’ll see over the next few years if eighty or more lives are enough to change things.
Christian Wolmar: tower tragedy must mark turning point for council cuts
labourlist.org
Grenfell is a shameful symbol of a state that didn’t care
theguardian.com
(755) Towers for the better
(485) Highrise hell [report]
(321) Rising high

(83) 1 Millionth Tower
(61) Flemo!
image: ChiralJon via Flickr/CC

(1129) May Day: pizzas & pink slips


May Day perhaps offers us a moment or two for thinking about the future of work and wages in years to come.
Also, robots.
The next big thing in construction robotics is building big.
Automation has revolutionized factory work. Now researchers have their sights set on construction
cbc.ca/news
Domino’s turns to robots to deliver pizza
robotics.news
Where machines could replace humans – and where they can’t (yet)
mckinsey.com

(1044) The G-word

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Oh dear, we admit we’ve dodged directly addressing gentrification at suburban-poverty.com for a couple of reasons.  Firstly, it’s more  often attached to the core of a given city than its suburbs.  Also, the g-word seems to shut conversation down because of its controversial dimension.  These two items might help us unpack things, at least a bit.
Gentrification and the suburbs.  Tear-downs and McMansions in inner ring suburban neighbourhoods
Simon Fraser University Urban Studies talk
(video 1:32:06)
Beware the vibrant, emerging, misleading language of gentrification
theguardian.com
(see other items under left hand link gentrification)

image: What What via Flickr/CC

(1019) Making stuff

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We see that one feature of deindustrialization is the idealization of manufacturing as a source of employment at good wages and for good purposes.  Taking raw materials and adding value to them by transforming them into cars, musical instruments, Christmas ornaments, kitchen appliances and so forth is upheld by most as a good thing.  Known as a font of pride and prosperity for many communities in the past, we often hear lamentations at the loss of industrial jobs and detect a fear at the spread of precarious work in its place.  Others nurture their nostalgia for the industrial past, wishing to make America great again, for example.
With such things in mind, we came across a couple of features recently.  One looks into the economics of returning the United States to a manufacturing-based economy (not gonna happen).  The second pays a visit to a city in China that churns out a vast daily tonnage of plastic crap for consumption via dollar stores in formerly industrial places (Merry Christmas!).  The third takes a position on Donald Trump’s neocon nihilism (not pretty).
Can we bring back many factory jobs? Let’s do the math
counterpunch.org
The Chinese city bursting with tchotchkes
citylab.com (see embedded links)

Why Trump won’t save the rust belt
nytimes.com

image: aNto via Flickr/CC

(1007) Bantustanada 2040

Vancouver MapCounterfactual propositions are most times best avoided.  We all are hungry for glimpses of the future, sure.  That part is okay.  There’s just too much risk of distraction in many a creative “what if” scenario, too much room for wild swings of positive or negative projection.  Let’s make an exception today for this dystopic reflection on an imagined socioeconomic existence for Vancouver, BC.  Yikes!  This can’t be a future anybody wants a part of.

How Vancouver’s housing segregation became policy: a 2040 look back. Decades from now, researchers reflect with shock, pity on what led to creation of regional, economically unequal ‘bantustans’
thetyee.ca

image: via basementgeographer.com – CC

 

 

(1003) San Francisco’s scavenging economics tighten up

aluminium cansScavenging is one of the oldest continuous forms of industry found in human settlements.  Never romanticized,
it nonetheless seems to be always with us.  The value of aluminium cans and other recyclables travels up and down much like that of say oil.  When the price is good scavengers get busy creating a commodity from rejected material and earn some minor income for themselves.  Spend any time in a built-up area and you eventually spot scavengers.  That bastion of high priced housing and advanced technology, San Francisco, is no exception.  Lately, though, the cities network of businesses where pop cans and such are redeemed has begun to thin out.  This is tough on the scavengers.

Collecting cans to survive: a ‘dark future’ as California recycling centers vanish. Poor and homeless San Franciscans rely on income earned by trading cans for cash, but their subsistence is under threat as hundreds of centers close down
theguardian.com

See also:
(128) Scrapping the suburbs
(375) Scavenging

image: Ken Ishikawa via Flickr/CC

(1001) Who’s city is this?

street scene
The world economy soars into the trillions these days with much of the focus on cities, on real estate.  We found reading this pair of items with our morning coffee in hand aided and abetted some understanding of the picture at high levels.  Wow, just imagine two hundred and seventy billion dollars worth of anything, then try and imagine a quadrillion dollars worth!
Investment in urban land is on the rise. We need to know who owns our cities
theconversation.com
Time to pay for the city we want
thestar.com

image: glassghost via Flickr/CC

(879) Awful UK

Cropped-CMEC_1_009Awful signals from Britain these days as third and fourth generation neocons keep doing what they do.

This is the day we say farewell to everything that was good about Britain
taxresearch.org

‘Conscious cruelty’: Ken Loach’s shock at benefit sanctions and food banks.‘ Hunger is being used as a weapon,’ says veteran director, calling for public rage over situation he says is worse than when he made Cathy Come Home in 1966
theguardian.com

image: Willwal via Wikimedia Commons/CC