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June 01, 2013



Actually, that para starting with Historically... is a really good turn of thought.

It dovetails alot with my thinking of just how Western press harps on Venezuela lacking toilet paper, and why they seem to think it's important in a way other than as an issue the gov't of Venezuela has to fix in the usual palette of governing crisis that all countries have.

I mean, many fairly modern place often lack toilet paper in public places (even if there is plenty in the stores), because toilet paper is one of those things people tend to hoard, even against family members...

There is just a real fascination with cleanliness and presentation when it comes to people being really authoritarian. Purity complex or something. And this tends to play out in the press of various political media organs. It also tends to play out in industrial (and especially housing) policy as well. Greece had this problem as well, and so does Turkey today, with the result that there isn't the kind of import/export balance that's particularly sustainable. Malls and subdivisions (a pernicious problem in Egypt and Mexico as well) are built, because transfering land in the name of "development" is a very profitable activity for regime insiders. No public parks for you lowly urban schlubs, it should be a MALL (and transfer public assets to private) for the glittering and most "modern" of Turks!

Chris Williams

How do state agencies make money? They can tax people, but the easiest way to do it is to develop state-owned land. Planning ('zoning') can often help here, by preventing anyone else from getting a look in. I suspect that as UK's local government is defunded, we're going to see a lot more 'development' which is mainly designed to see the local council's balance sheet in the black at the end of the year.

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