Evanescence of Cities III
16 May 2014
Now humans are deserting cities just after they built them , but before they lived in them .
1.Ghost cities of China .
Built during a property bubble, no attempt to find buyers . Now crumbling into ruins .
2. A big one :
3.There are so many .
It is just unbelievable .
Nary a human .
China has built more than 500 of these empty cities since the cultural revolution in 1978, with hundreds more set to come online by the end of the decade.
All deteriorating into ultra-modern ruins as we speak .
4.Where does all the money come from ?
Gullible westerners , mainly Americans .
They evict their own citizens from their homes and build ghost cities half a world away .
Another triumph for capitalism .
5. Old style abandonment :
See Appendix AA . Evanescence of Cities .
At least the city had some use .
6. But this is a new style of abandonment . They walk away just after they built it .
Not just one . More than 500 full cities , turning into ruins .
7. This dwarfs Ozymandias by Shelley
Not exactly what old Percy had in mind .
Conspicuous consumption driven to its extreme .
Hundreds of cities of ghosts .
I wonder what future archaeologists would make of it ?
“I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shatter'd visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well
those passions read
Which yet survive, stamp'd on these lifeless things,
The hand that mock'd them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains: round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
8.Why do humans do this ?
Their ability to build cities have obviously outstripped their willingness to destroy them .
They rebuilt Europe in 10 years after bombing centuries of brickwork flat . (WWII)
Yet they continue to build cities , even though they immediately abandon them .
Superficially it seems like economics .
But humans will continue to build , even if they cannot afford it .
My pyramid is bigger than your pyramid .
9. They just like it .
I considered many fancy psychological reasons , as well as historical ones .
The only one that held water was that humans simply liked to build things .
Even if it had no purpose , they would still build it , just for the hell of it .
10 . Then tear it all down , or bomb it , or just walk away .
This is just an excuse for itchy fingers to start building new things .
11. No hovels required .
The impulse to stone is simple : there is no satisfaction in dismantling a hovel .
But , dismantling the pyramids . Now there is something .
So , paradoxically , the ghost cities are built to enable them to be demolished .
Everybody feels satisfied .
The Capitalist exploiters made money . The Greens get to recycle the ruins into new instant ruins.
The proletariat might not get to stay in these fancy new apartments , but there would be some work for them .
12. New Art-Form .
Transform a new ruin into a newer ruin , or into an old ruin .
Things could be worse .
You might have had to stay in one of these Palace’s of the People .
Suffice to say that the bottom apartment ceiling of a 20 story block of flats that leaks when it rains
Time to reach for Thor’s Hammer : the real one .
13. The Kali Effect .
Destroy and Create .
When in doubt , smash it , then use super-glue .
Sunday, January 05, 2014
Evanescence of Cities
6 Jan 2014
Cities are created and abandoned ad hoc .
1.Humans build cities and discard them .
2.A city is a hierarchical machine .
3.This is tolerated , because the concentration of capital by elites enables nifty things like Literature , Science ,Culture , Opera , etc.
4.But it also enables professional military soldiers .
5.If the balance between City with soldiers and Soldiers with a city shifts to the latter , the whole city evanesces .
6.Examples :Any Empire , Maya , Angkor Wat , middle East , Europe .
Every place is lousy with ruins of cities where they just walked away .
This is the norm .
Everybody likes to think the barbarians conquered . But they just walked into abandoned palaces .
7.Basically , a tax revolt . The population does not even decrease , but is redistributed into smaller units .
8.Can this happen today ?
Yes ,funnily enough .
I thought that the driving force of cities was higher population densities .
It used to be that the removal of population from the food production area increased production .
This is no longer true . Even cities can be self-sufficient (with a bit of effort)
9.Evanescence of Cities :
9.1Gobekli-Tepe and their ilk .
Cities were invented and used ad-hoc for a specific purpose , then moth-balled .
9.2 Detroit and Hamashima Island
Present day examples . The City served it’s purpose , and is then abandoned, mothballed or re-purposed .
10. Are Cities obsolescent ?
Too early to tell . Some will be kept for nostalgia .
But people have been leaving cities for decades . Like Suburbs .
11. What I am trying to say , is that within decades you can walk through the ruins of New York , London , Amsterdam , etc .
The people will still be there . They would just have walked away . The burden became too onerous .
12.Will population drastically decrease ?
Not necessarily . You are substituting Virtual Cities for Real Cities .
In previous civilizations , they became unglued because of the professional military not being funded any more . So they simply took it . But they most sincerely would prefer to be on the payroll .
13. Present USA situation :
Academi (formerly Blackwater) The largest Mercenary group .
Well , at least they won’t run out of funding .
In 2010, a group of private investors purchased Xe's training facility in Moyock, NC and built a new company around it named Academi. The new ownership instituted a Board of Directors and entirely new management system, including a full compliance and governance program. The Academi Board of Directors includes former Attorney General John Ashcroft, former White House Counsel to President Bill Clinton and former Chief of Staff to Vice President Al Gore, Jack Quinn, retired Admiral and former Director of the National Security Agency Bobby Ray Inman, and Texas businessmanRed McCombs, who serves as Chairman of the Board. Jack Quinn and John Ashcroft both serve as Independent Directors of Academi.
In May 2011, Academi named Ted Wright as CEO. Wright hired Suzanne Rich Folsom as Academi's chief regulatory and compliance officer and deputy general counsel. The Academi Regulatory and Compliance team won the National Law Journal's Corporate Compliance Office of the Year Award for 2012.
In 2012, Brigadier General (ret.) Craig Nixon was named the new CEO of Academi.
14. As long as the Tax situation remains stable , and free-lance security services are loyal to the government , the cities will continue to evanesce . Quite rapidly too . Expect more Ruins of Detroit ,or Orleans ,or Chicago .
15 . Remember : people just walk away . Like the Maya , Angkor Wat , Detroit . They are still there in their numbers . Just disgusted with the whole enterprise . The City no longer enabled a better living or larger population .
16.This is deeply rooted in Human Societies .The memes are there . If the politicians are stupid enough to overtax (38% upper threshold) , people just walk away .
17. I would be surprised if any large city exists in 50 year’s time .
This advice is tax-free.