Wednesday, February 24, 2016


As I have written before, I cannot fathom western-style economics. It has always seemed to me to be utterly wasteful and impractical. Yes, it seems to operate. But that does not mean that it actually works for the wider good. Since, as I said, I don't understand it, I'm not going to attempt to try to explain it or suggest a better alternative.

It remains a mystery to me.

One of the effects that I see of the system every single day is the way it discards construction. Vast sums of capital and brute force are expended in creating man-made structures of one type or another. This is something that I see on a weekly basis.

First, land is cleared. That is, land that once held forests or fields--along with accompanying aquifers and streams--is cleared. If there are trees there--and they are generally present in large numbers--these are cut down and carted off as timber or ground up for mulch, or just carried away for disposal or sometimes buried on site. Any streams present are channeled, diverted into vast concrete pipes, and buried forever.

Upon this wreck of former forest or farm landscape (almost as often, the land was once a productive farm), the construction begins. Engineers and architects come in, examine the lay of the land, alter it, drain it, pack it down, and make it ready.

After that come the trucks and the graders and the backhoes and various other tools of the trade. Foundations are placed, concrete is poured, rebar is installed, asphalt is laid down, walls go up. In the blink of an eye where the trees or pasture once grew there is now a shopping center or an office complex or a subdivision or sprawling apartments--sometimes a stadium.

Often these buildings that were bought and constructed will then stand empty. I've seen them stand empty for years because there was not a need for them in the first place. Or they will fill up and subsequently the businesses that arrive will all fail, one by one. The apartments or houses will lie idle, or be used by people who don't (or won't) understand the importance of a good house and they will deteriorate in quick order.

Within a few years I have seen these structures planned and built and offered up like some kind of hideous blood sacrifice become shattered and vacant and ruined almost as quickly as they were erected. Mainly they are left to succumb to the elements after this. They may fall in, or maybe the city or county or state will declare them a danger to the wider community and have them knocked down. The brick and concrete will be pulverized. The metal frames and aluminum cladding might be recycled. Much of it will go into various landfills.

And somewhere, I know, there are men who profited from all of this. Men who have homes in San Francisco, and apartments in Manhattan, and beach homes in Tahiti, and villas in Italy. But not the laborers. They're still out there looking for work or being robbed of what little they have by the banks who approved all of this construction in the first place. But I always ask myself, who are these men? How did this circle of destruction form? Why is it tolerated?

I have no answers. I am just your humble observer.

(Maybe someone in St. Louis has the answer?)

I've forgotten the town, but this was in West Virginia which is rife with the remains of old industry. It made some money for some one, some time. But now it's all a burden on the communities where these concerns once dominated life and liberty. I'm sure the town where I saw this wreck is responsible for cleaning up the mess. Certainly not the fat cats who profited the most from it. As always, lay the debt on the people least able to bear the burden.

Tumble down, tumble down.

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