Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Posted to the Pittsburgh Socialist Forum

I'm not from Pittsburgh, nor have I ever been there, but I suspect that it is like so many of urban areas in the Northern US, a place with much in the way of hollowed out, and for most intents and purposes abandoned residential and industrial districts overrun by now declining suburban sprawl which feeds into overactive and overzealous medical institutions and establishments and has built their gliitering steel-girded towers where a fraudulent Capitalist middle class and aristocracy carry on the chrade of trading paper, more likely in this day and age bytes and megabytes.

So what can a reformed Socialist economy do for an area that has no legitimate base remaining?

I suggest to you that there is much work to be done rebuilding the human environment in preparation for the long or precipitous decline in the fossil fuel age. We must move all communities towards relocalization of basic needs and it is imperative that we, as a nation, set goals such as reducing automobile usage by 80% in the next 20 to 40 years in order to free the remaining precious fossil fuels for more important applications such as home heating, cooking, and electricty for necessary applications (do we really need so much lighting?).

The keys to this massive energy demand side rebuilding program are the walkable neighborhood (i.e. rebuilding and/or retrofitting all neighborhoods with village centers so that most can get the things they need within walking distance of their homes) and the deliberate, planned, needs directed, cooperative and inter-community control of the production and distribution supply chains for all the peoples needs.

The first part of the solution proposed in the previous paragraph is nothing new. It has been an architectural/urban planning mantra called "new urbanism". Many speculative developments based on these principles have failed in the last generation. The reason? There are two, the irrationality with the way the profit-motivated economic system allocates resources, and the lack of affordability for most.

We get "mixed use" redevelopments in which the commercial sectors are irrelevant to the needs of the gentrified clientele. They almost always build parking garages so that the bourgeoise residents of new urbanist projects can ignore the lack of available necessities in their neighborhood and are still "free to vote in the marketplace".

We all know that Socialism is Labor employing capital to meet the needs of the people, starting with those most in need. The allocation of resources to evolve to such a eutopia (good place) has to be rationally distributed in a principled manner.

It can be done, but before a plan can be implemented (realized), it needs to be conceived, developed, communicated, and accepted (recognized).

To place the payment burden on governments is not realistic or even optimal. What is needed is the recognition and commitment and dedication of and for the evolution of the private sector to a quasi-public one (working in coordination with Government safety-net, fostering, and facilitating capabilities). The vehicle for the economic/financial transition is an Equity Union. With such an Institution, equity sharing would replace equity speculation, equity trading, and lending.

That's enough for now. I hope that we can discuss and push the agenda forward. I will post a copy of this essay in the Discussion Section of this Group.

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