Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Jane Jacobs Dies

The great urbanist and Queen of the Annex has died. While a Torontonian, the Pithlord felt a civic pride in her presence, but had some second thoughts once he moved to Vancouver, and had to experience the cost of not having adequate traffic corridors.

But what interested me most was her gloss on Plato's guardian ethic in Systems of Survival . Unlike Plato, she did not claim that the guardian ethic of competition/loyalty/hierarchy was better than the commercial ethic of mutual gain/honest dealing/property-contract respect. But she did think they were both necessary.

When thinking about anarcho-capitalist utopias (pretty much the only kind of anarchist utopia worth thinking about, if only as a normative ideal) I could imagine doing without the state, but not without some caste or other that regarded trade as beneath them. Since such castes are pretty much what is objectionable about the state, I don't see where it gets you.

Update: Apparently, Jacobs advocated Quebec separation from a pro-English Canadian perspective. Haven't read it, but I thought I would link to it. I have been reading Peter Brimelow's Patriot Game, which predicted the rise of both the Reform Party and the Bloc Québecois and which apparently influenced Stephen Harper. Brimelow records something of a debt to Jacobs. But Brimelow's book deserves a post or two of its own.

No comments: