Urban Future (2.0)

The new UF blog is up and running now, with a few teething problems expected. The platform is much more reliable than the old one, but its idiosyncrasies still require some getting used to. Comments, especially, might be troublesome at first.

The intention is to use it as a platform for material that isn’t (in one way or another) off the wall. There’s nothing much up yet except some tentative posts on the structure of history, urbanization, economic development, and the recent regime transition. (There’s also a product promo, providing a clue to the underlying economic base of the blog, which is still extremely embryonic at this stage.)

Urban Future (2.0) is my work blog, which means it will be connected up to e-publication projects – realized and prospective – with a Shanghai dimension. Hopefully that will be mostly synergic, rather than intrusive. Self-marginalization will be restrained by the commercial reality-principle over there, so the content only comes in vanilla flavor right now. (If I can keep it vaguely respectable, blogging gets included in billable time.) A few rum-soaked raisins will probably creep in, but anything too intoxicating will end up here (in Outer Darkness).

It’s not exactly clear at this stage how specialization between these blogs will work, so there’s an experimental aspect. The neater the crystallization into artificial good twin / bad twin schizophrenia, the smoother it should run.  It might end up being necessary to run light side / dark side versions of the same post on occasions. ‘Politeness’ in this contexts starts from Outside in criteria of minimal civility, then super-adds sensitivity to the norms of present day metropolitan China and those of low-friction trans-national commerce. It is easier, at least at first, to investigate the edges of these normative systems here than over there. (More on this topic later.)

Decorous commentary on China, history and economics is especially welcome, and the range of discussion should gradually expand, with some responsiveness to reader interest. Anyone with the irresistible urge to howl like a werewolf – even about UF content – is advised to do that here, where the risk of immediate deletion, whilst by no means negligible, is considerably smaller.

June 21, 2013admin 15 Comments »
FILED UNDER :Uncategorized

TAGGED WITH : ,

15 Responses to this entry

  • David Says:

    Congratulations on getting the new UF blog up… it’ll be a pleasure to see you mix it up (if mix it up you do) with the anglophone China blogosphere.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    What’s your sense of the anglophone China blogosphere? If somebody twitchily unstable points a gun at your head, demanding “the hub blog, now!” what do you say? (Assuming for these purposes a non-heroic scenario.)

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 21st, 2013 at 7:54 am Reply | Quote
  • Mark Warburton Says:

    How interesting. “The neater the crystallization into artificial good twin / bad twin schizophrenia, the smoother it should run.” As long as the operative word is artficial! We wouldn’t want to lose you to the vortex. Nick, will you be doing anymore talks over at the Shanghai studies symposium? And is there any plan for writing a foreword to Greenspan’s forthcoming book (cue obligatory, premature ‘I WANT’ after seeing it pop up on pre-order at Amazon).

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    When conceived with maximum ambition, I think of this as an attempt to map the contours of the acceptably thinkable (on both constraining dimensions). It’s far more likely that I’ll tumble clumsily off the high-wire than disappear into the vortex.
    The SSS, like just about everything else I look at these days, is in a transitional phase — I’ll definitely try to keep track of it at UF.
    My writing a preface for Anna’s book would not be very helpful to anybody — a UF review with disclosure of special interest might be appropriate though.

    [Reply]

    Mark Warburton Reply:

    Cheers for letting me know. Yeah, a UF review would be great.

    I finished Gregory Clark’s book. Overall, good. Although I was a little disappointed at his tentativeness when it came to the three core theories regarding growth. The comparative work on England, Japan and China was super informative – it makes sense that the rigidity of class and population boom of the Asian countries set England apart – how the mighty have fallen.

    After James Goulding repeatedly pointed to Moldbug and Szabo, I am now reading them in their (near) entirety, hence why I’ve slinked into the shadows.

    Not to mention Lynda Gratton’s ‘The Shi/ft: the future of work is already here’ and Douglas Rushkoff’s ‘Present Shock’ are asking me to read them as they gather dust!

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 21st, 2013 at 8:09 am Reply | Quote
  • David Says:

    Like the point of connection with regard to “Confucian Restoration” in the initial Time Spiral post (even as I’m not sold on the actuality of a present-into-the-near-future reality of a Confucian restoration, though I think I get the idea’s appeal to the Western neoreactionary mind). I’d be interested to know your Outside In take on the New Yorker‘s ex-Peace Corps Hessler as a popular mainstream liberal NPR-New Yorker-grade guide to contemporary China (and, now/next post-Arab-spring Egypt). Despite his quite nuanced grasp of Chinese history and its bearing on both China’s present and on the West’s history and present, does he not still strike you as an agent of–how do you say?–Cathedralization? vis-à-vis contemporary China and the deep history from which it springs?

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Hessler seems like a nice guy, and thus — of course — painfully politically correct.
    It’s amazing to me that he could flit off from China to the Middle East — I don’t know whether to be impressed or horrified.
    In any case, he doesn’t burrow into the time spiral idea remotely far enough, its potential for exploitation remains almost entirely untapped. He’s not pretentious enough to call himself a philosopher, and that’s required to get to first base.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 21st, 2013 at 8:17 am Reply | Quote
  • spandrell Says:

    The color scheme is too bright for me. I’ll rather stay here in the shadows.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “The future is so bright we’ll need shades,” Glenn Reynolds remarked recently. Not entirely convinced by that? The bad twin isn’t either …

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 21st, 2013 at 1:45 pm Reply | Quote
  • John Says:

    The massive ongoing urbanization will destroy China. Just as the urbanization over the past few generations has decimated America’s founding stock.

    The Great Chinese Famine will be seen as having been trivial compared to this. Ultimately the Famine was just a case of over taxation of grain. It didn’t kill off the seed corn. This will kill off the seed corn.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    Cities are like that, it’s true. But there’s no going back.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 22nd, 2013 at 6:44 am Reply | Quote
  • John Says:

    Which is why I’m not sure why you’re so sanguine about China.

    I’m not sure why you say that there’s no going back. The urbanization has been the product of centralized policy from the CCP.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    That is to massively exaggerate CCP control in my opinion. Deng Xiaoping released modernity in China, he didn’t create it. Modernity makes cities. That’s why today’s leaders talk about “the objective laws of urban development” — they don’t pretend to be running the main current of modernization, but realistically see themselves adapting to it and guiding its course, at the margin.

    I’m sanguine about China (medium term) mostly for Lynn and Vanhanen reasons — it’s an anomalous outlier in terms of wealth/IQ equilibrium, and restoring equilibrium has been its basic motor of growth for 30 years, with plenty of fuel still in the tank.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 22nd, 2013 at 11:09 pm Reply | Quote
  • JB Says:

    China is screwed. If China had not preemptively terminated its age of exploration – burning their impressive fleet of merchant ships – the Sassoon opium steam ships would have looked like kine pox compared to the small pox that would have been visited upon them. This time around, they are in for the full force of a much more highly evolved pathogen and they have very little resistance. Indeed, with their high male to female ratio, the conditions are nearly perfect for producing the vestigial male syndrome in China which has been an important ingredient in the recent extremes of centralization of wealth in the West. Their only hope is that Chinese leadership is heavy on engineering and they may just be able to see some of this before their brains are turned to soup, as happened to the leadership in the West during the 20th century.

    The opium trade indeed may have provided some limited cross-immunity to what is now in store for them. I am not familiar enough with contemporary Chinese culture to see how much a part of their culture memory of that era is. However, it almost certainly isn’t enough.

    The Chinese leadership is the kind that could, if it merely understood the evolutionary dynamics of horizontal vs vertical transmission, institute the kind of assortative migration by mutually consenting adults as a massive exercise in social science. They have demonstrated a willingness to engage in less disciplined kinds of such experiments in economics with various kinds of development zones. The big barrier to this is oil importation, not market availability. They can synthesize an internal market with a citizen’s dividend in a matter of a few years. At that point the various mutually consenting bodies politic would determine the degree of trade vs self-sufficiency.

    [Reply]

    admin Reply:

    “China is screwed.” — Do you mean something worse than ‘least screwed (large) patch of a totally screwed world’? If so, I need more in the way of de-compressed persuasion.

    [Reply]

    Posted on June 23rd, 2013 at 7:21 am Reply | Quote

Leave a comment