In which Peter Gordon makes me LOL about policy and planning

The New Yorker’s view of the world? Today’s WSJ, includes Joel Kotkin’s “The Myth of the Back-to-the-City Migration”. Many commentators live and/or work in Manhattan and cannot imagine that they are the outliers. Many others have not yet accepted the auto-oriented city — which is here to stay. Still others cannot imagine that the suburbs offer enough in the way of “density” in various “sub-centers” to fulfill urban areas’ role in providing all of the agglomeration benefits and opportunities. It’s akin to high-speed rail, rail transit, downtown convention centers and sports stadia, transit-oriented development, and many variants. One side of the brain (if brains actually have sides) says, “get used to it.” The other side says, “this is waste, fraud, and even occasional theft.” I suppose this is why they have Tylenol.

link: Peter Gordon’s Blog

I started skylarking this morning about a novella where all of planning is just a grand cabal between aspirin companies and the gummint.

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Energy Disasters of the Future? Michael Klare

From the Nation:

On June 15, in their testimony before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the chief executives of America’s leading oil companies argued that BP’s Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico was an aberration—something that would not have occurred with proper corporate oversight and will not happen again once proper safeguards are put in place. This is fallacious, if not an outright lie. The Deep Horizon explosion was the inevitable result of a relentless effort to extract oil from ever deeper and more hazardous locations. In fact, as long as the industry continues its relentless, reckless pursuit of “extreme energy”—oil, natural gas, coal and uranium obtained from geologically, environmentally and politically unsafe areas—more such calamities are destined to occur.

link: The Coming Era of Energy Disasters | The Nation

I’m not sure sure about the other scenarios, but the Nigeria scenario seems pretty unlikely at this point. There, oil companies have gotten the hint: after violence directed at oil workers by militant indigenous organizations, those companies pulled out and the NIgerian government has nationalized most production last year. I haven’t studied the other two situations, however, and they are worth thinking about.

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