Neutron Bomb Urbanism, from Stealth of Nations by Robert Neuwirth: in which Babatunde Fashola, arbitrary but
energeticState Governor of Lagos, Nigeria, possessed of a
infrastructure and housing projectsfor Lagos, cordons off and destroys 10,000 people’s homes in the shantytown neighborhood of Badia East. This comes on the heels of his government’s destruction of homes and displacement of more than one million people in
largely unannounced, government slum clearances[sic]. The same government has also demolished squatter communities in Makoko, razed street markets and criminalized street selling in the name of his gleaming visions and the socioeconomic cleansing that will scour
hiscity of poor people’s homes, lives and livelihoods.
You will be assimilated: State of Illinois vs. Technological Progress and Human-Scale Trade, from Cameron Scott at SocialTimes. The company behind the Square credit-card processor — one of the single most beneficial developments in years for small-scale sellers, ranging from storefront small businesses to informal hawkers and yard sales (I use it myself for ALL Distro tabling events — is being targeted with a cease-and-desist order and a threat of massive overkill fines from the State of Illinois, because they offer an unlicensed alternative to existing businesses for
transmitting moneyunder the State of Illinois. Since they haven’t complied with the right paperwork for a state license that they couldn’t possibly have known they needed, based on the State Government of Illinois’ arbitrary declaration that it will classify them in the category of
transmitting moneyrather than a
merchant payment processor, the State of Illinois will now shake them down for a no-doubt expensive and certainly legally burdensome licensing settlement, or else it will assess a fine of $1,000 per transaction, $1,000 per day, and 4× the transaction amount for continuing to process credit card payments for individuals and small businesses. As usual, the state’s mad insistence on compliance at all costs, with a maddeningly complex, largely arbitrary and in practice completely unpredictable set of bureaucratic requirements, means an assault on any disruptive technology or low-overhead upstart, even those that maintain a superficially respectable corporate front; the only way to survive is to call in yet more lawyers, fill out more forms, and to sink yet more time and money into making yourself indistinguishable from every other financial business in operation. Before the Law stands a doorkeeper, and you must be made to see that he is mighty; after all, the clash-of-the-titans
competitionbetween oligopolistic bureaucratically managed, government regulated finance industry has of course served us all so well that its business model must be locked in and secured against upstart alternative business models, at every opportunity, no matter the cost to low-overhead alternatives and infrastructure and services that community businesses and human-scale commerce have come to depend on.
- Charles Johnson (December 2007), Scratching By: How Government Creates Poverty As We Know It
- GT 2007-09-15: Free Riders
- GT 2009-02-19: How local government in Las Vegas and Clark County deals with the worst joblessness crisis in a generation
- GT 2009-08-28: The War on the Informal Sector (cont’d)
- GT 2010-02-04: Against legalization (cont’d)
- GT 2010-03-30: Scratching By (cont’d): The Government Land Cartel Vs. Costs Savings and Urban Living
- GT 2012-09-19: Well then I suppose they will lose their waffle cones as well as their principal.