2010/06/10

What's That Strange Sound?

5 comments:

Arkonbey said...

I believe that the growth economy is a dangerous myth whose effects can be most clearly viewed locally.

In our state we have a small town here that allowed massive commercial and residential growth (box stores and subdivisions) to increase its tax base during a time of deficit.

Within a year of the malls and 'mushroom' houses replacing the family farm and woodlands, the town had to raise its sales tax to the highest in the county.

Why? Because the schools were now over crowded; the roads and other infrastructure needed expansion and repair; the fire department had to go from volunteer to full-time. All of this added to the tax incentives given to the businesses that grew.

So, now the town is ruined, woodland and farmland gone forever, and is now looking at allowing more growth to pay for the previous growth.

Heartening news: I did hear of a town in Maine that has a moratorium on large growth (no subdivisions or non-small business) and another that's suing a real estate developer for clear-cutting a development.

Pandabonium said...

Arkonbey - yup. A finite world and unlimited growth doesn't add up. We need to start measuring progress in terms of quality of life - happiness and health - not GDP and how much crap we can produce.

nzm said...

We've been discussing this a lot lately in our little circle of friends in Barcelona.

We have concurred that the best model is Switzerland's cantons. Bring it back to smaller community governance, where decisions are made at grass-roots level, and transparent accountability is present. Just think of the opportunity to stand toe-to-toe with your council rep and ask him exactly how that $100k was spent!

Most people in Switzerland wouldn't know who the Swiss President is, nor do they have to care!

The Moody Minstrel said...

I have to envy the Swiss for a great many things.

Pandabonium said...

NZM - yes, the answers must come from the bottom up. There is a very active "localization" movement going on in the world with people addressing issues like food, energy, and climate, at the local level.

Moody - yes. I've always thought that any country that puts a corkscrew on their army's pocket multi-tool demands respect.