21 August 2011

Cities as a source of recovery from the Economic Crisis of 2008: How can cities initiate an economic recovery? Part IV: Strategy 1-Facilitate the “Green” Economy (Part A)

As a preface to a discussion on the proposed strategies that can be used by cities/urbanized areas to ‘bootstrap’ their local political economies, I briefly outlined the creation of the environment that would enable change (see Creating the Environment, Part A , Creating the Environment, Part B, Creating the Environment, Part C .) Cities have to be enablers of change and not reactors to public policy from higher levels of government, as the present leadership at the state and national level is unable or unwilling to devise solutions. Cutting budgets which filter down to local governments also having to cut their budgets is not a solution. It is retrenchment in the hopes that the economy will improve and things can go back to 'normal.' It is evident that it is not only the budgets are in trouble, but also the lack of intellectual resources and morality among our elected leaders to resolve these issues. It is very obvious to the vast amount of the electorate that these representatives only serve special interests and the extremely wealthy. To somehow think that there will be an enlightenment among them and they will favor the public good over those who pay for their multi-million dollar campaigns is fantasy. The recent riots in the U.K. are evident of this distrust of the elite who govern all the nations’ governments. The overturning of dictatorships in the Middle East is also indicative of the acknowledgement that the elite are unwilling and unable to come to grips with the growing realities of globalization. Will there be protests in the U.S. or will the middle class in the U.S. put their hopes in the lackluster and ill-formed ideas of the Tea Party and the liberal agenda? But, there is another path. One that will inspire whole nations and their population and transform our global political economy in a new direction. The solutions must come from the cities and their citizens and ‘bubble up’ to the top. In the blog entry of 9 July 2011, I initiated this discussion concerning how cities can be the source of the recovery and recommended strategies (see Cities as a Source of Economic Recovery, Introduction. and Stategies)

The “Green Economy” has been much touted as the solution to revamping and redirecting the developed and developing world. This term is usually in tandem with the idea of sustainability. These are laudable goals, but often difficult to implement given the present atmosphere of corporate led economies, special interests and other stakeholder allegiances to a dying and unsustainable view of the global political economy. The global economic crisis was brought about by these forces and to expect the same people to come up with a solution is wishful thinking leading to more of the same. A sustainable and a Green Economy must become the reality of cities and not some far-fetched dream. While I fully endorse capitalism, as flawed, as it is, it is far better than any other system thus far proposed and implemented. It is not capitalism that is the problem; it is the present direction and goals of capitalism that are the problem. We have ended an era in international politics and economics and things are in a transitional vortex. Cities must lead this transition. They have in the past and will in the future.

The economy of cities are based on individuals spending more, producing more, making more waste, and consuming more natural resources. Industries and commercial establishments are likewise geared around consuming natural resources, more growth, and more profit. The future is not a pleasant one if it continues in this direction. The question is: Can cities move toward an environment where natural resources are consumed less by individuals and commercial/industrial entities? I think we are moving toward this, but not rapidly enough so that we can gain out freedom from their economically crippling effects. In the next blog entry, I will discuss the definition of a green economy. (To my readers, these blog entries should be  considered as material for a later book to be further refined and expanded. Therefore, they may contain errors of which I must take full responsibility. Any suggestions or comments are welcome which will help me further develop these concepts.)

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