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    Growth: Do we even know what we want to achieve?

    There are strategies to pursue, including more higher education. But we also need to decide our goals.
    Seattle from the Space Needle: Not enough growth?

    Seattle from the Space Needle: Not enough growth? FraserElliot/Flickr

    Does Seattle know how to grow?

    You’d think so, with all those construction cranes back and so many mega-projects underway. We’re about to get expanded light rail, a new waterfront, a massive downtown tunnel, a super-sized 520 bridge, and a Mercer Mess that has been tidied up after 50 years of complaining. Growth would seem to be the least of our problems.

    But there are some who think these endeavors are not enough. We could do more, do it bigger, do it better and, they believe, we had better get to it because we’re facing big economic challenges. Boeing, for example, has become a constant worry. The company is doing a slow retreat from Puget Sound, and keeping key parts of Boeing's work here is getting increasingly expensive for taxpayers. Some $9 billion in new tax breaks have been offered to keep 777X work here. Even so, without a major transportation package and with major union concessions just voted down, Boeing is looking for a better deal elsewhere.

    Another foundation of our economy is showing signs of change, and age. Microsoft has reached maturity and experienced enough marketplace failures (Vista, Zune, Surface) that a major management shift is underway. We’ve grown accustomed to Redmond being a perennial powerhouse and millionaire-generator in the Gates-Ballmer era, but will that roll continue?

    Seattle sees itself as a special incubator of the next big commercial success — and the new Bezos family-funded “Center for Innovation” at the Museum of History and Industry that opened this fall is a shrine to this self-image. We’ve scored with Starbucks, Nordstrom, Costco and Amazon, for example. But in the tech sector there’s some thought that we haven’t reached our silicon potential, that we're over-due for a new major success a la Google or Facebook.

    Sure, we’re a pretty good place for start-ups, but Seattle tech booster Chris DeVore recently wrote that while Seattle is pretty good at launching companies, “It’s been a long time since a new Seattle-based company produced a huge windfall.” He means a company, like Microsoft or Amazon, that lifted employees and investors by generating lots of wealth. “If I had to put my finger on the one thing we could do to improve our weak ‘startup rate,’ it would be to produce more explosive wins in Seattle…” he wrote. That would benefit start-ups and companies all up and down the food chain and generate money to invest in new ventures. Apparently, the tech sector needs a new blockbuster.

    Another voice encouraging Seattle and Washington to take it to the next level is Microsoft executive vice president and general counsel Brad Smith. In October, he addressed the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce’s annual Leadership Conference, an appropriate place for business leaders to inspire the team with a growth-oriented Gipper speech. I also had a chance to talk with him afterwards. In his speech, he said “[I]f there is a moment in time when we can come together and focus on raising our ambition, I think that moment is now.” With the state recovering economically, with greater global competition ahead (China, Brazil, South Carolina…), and with so much potential here, we need to get going, and set our sights higher.

    To that end, his Gipper — or maybe "Skipper" — speech cited a nautical example. It was inspirational achievement of the University of Washington rowing crew who beat the odds to win a gold medal in 1936. These were local boys who had to raise their own money during the Depression to go to Germany, who had to race under rules that favored Hitler’s rowing team, and who took on the task of making America proud at the Nazi’s infamous Olympic Games. “It’s a reminder of what nine young men from humble background could achieve when they reached beyond themselves and worked as a team,” he said.

    In this era of city-states competing globally, of a national government tackling less and local governments having to fill the gaps, the pressure is on us to find a way forward. Can we perform in the global marketplace like the heroes of Montlake?

    Smith’s vision involves attracting more Fortune 500 companies to the region — we have too few Nintendos, he told me. We could, for example, focus on attracting more major companies from Asia, and we must do a better job of retaining successful companies, which can move, fail big or morph (think Boeing, WaMu and McCaw). He also says we need to up our game in education. Each year we produce 6,500 too few college graduates to meet local demand. That’s roughly equivalent to an entire University of Washington senior class. We need to take more advantage of our increasing diversity and our proximity to Asia, becoming a modern gateway where East and West can combine in economically powerful ways.

    The Pacific orientation isn’t a new vision. Our connections to Asia and the Pacific and their potential have been a recognized opportunity since the days of the fur trade and Thomas Jefferson. But Smith worries that we're too distracted by “big” projects that don’t take us far enough. The re-do of the SR-520 floating bridge, for example, is still only partially funded and slowed by problems. Expensive and big though it might be, and as much as Smith and Microsoft pushed for it, it isn’t a game-changer in the way the Lake Washington ship canal was when it was built a century ago, an example Smith evoked in his talk. That link connected the resource economy (coal, timber, iron ore) with the Pacific, opened markets, put Seattle on the map as a major maritime center and boosted industrial capacity. It was an ambitious, transformative project.

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    Posted Fri, Nov 15, 5 a.m. Inappropriate

    As Israel is the victim become predator of nation States so too is Seattle the violent thieving pervert of City States, thanks to Bill Gates Sr and his lackeys including Jr, Brad Smith, and Mr. Berger himself.

    The law is the law, and you folks have screwed yourselves royally.

    Posted Fri, Nov 15, 6:19 a.m. Inappropriate

    Best thing that Mayor Murray could do in this arena would be to commit to the extension of high-speed broadband throughout the city. McGinn abandoned the goal of a city-sponsored network, and he kept the legacy providers throttled in favor of his deal with Gigabit Squared, a shell of a company that has yet to provide any service anywhere. Innovators need this tool, and McGinn let them down.

    In broadband, Seattle is lagging behind towns like Graham, and it's disgraceful. Better broadband must be a major goal of the new Murray administration.

    Posted Fri, Nov 15, 7:59 a.m. Inappropriate

    Smith’s vision involves attracting more Fortune 500 companies to the region

    That vision makes sense only for a select few: primarily Microsoft, the local muni-bond financier interest group, and Sound Transit.

    It's not hard to see why this lawyer hopes to see more huge corporate headquarters here. Lawyers deal in evidence. If suddenly Fortune 500 companies sprang up here it would provide the evidence those rich interest groups require to argue the "trickle-down economics" policies they've been pushing worked.

    Conversely, and in the absence of such evidence, the democrats might ease up on their incessant regressive tax hikes, abusive bond-based financing plans, undertaxation of profitable corporations, and handing out of tax breaks to the rich.


    Posted Fri, Nov 15, 8:14 a.m. Inappropriate

    "The question is, can business and political leadership shake the habit of doing business as usual?"
    Not according to the results of the recent mayoral election. Getting back to business as usual is part of Murray's platform, so this appears to be a rhetorical question to me.


    Posted Fri, Nov 15, 11:41 a.m. Inappropriate

    Sorry Knute but there's no race to win, unless of course if you call greedy people aimlessly wondering around looking for a way to create wealth for themselves a race.

    First and foremost there's a clear lack of direction regarding growth as it relates to wealth creation. It's this lack of direction, not which race we're running that's the problem.

    Given all the money in the area, we still have a school system that can best be described as underwhelming, a transportation system that doesn't have a clue how to move people efficiently and in a cost effective manner, and then there's the infamous Seattle decision making process on public projects. Perhaps if we solved these problems first then the discussion about growth would make more sense, but just adding to chaos doesn't help the average Jane and her family. All they see is money being collected into someone else's hands at her expense and her everyday problems not being resolved or even considered.


    Posted Fri, Nov 15, 2:14 p.m. Inappropriate

    "Given all the money in the area, we still have a school system that can best be described as underwhelming, a transportation system that doesn't have a clue how to move people efficiently and in a cost effective manner, and then there's the infamous Seattle decision making process on public projects. Perhaps if we solved these problems first then the discussion about growth would make more sense, but just adding to chaos doesn't help the average Jane and her family."

    Bravo to that - it's worth repeating.

    A city runs on people. From those at the bottom to those at the top, we need every trained or educated person we can find to support the life of our city.

    But a city is more than a hive of worker bees (sorry, Bill,Jeff, et al). It is a city of neighborhoods (something that seemed to get lost in the mayoral race after Peter Steinbrueck left). We have thriving, unique neighborhoods in every corner of our city and that gives us the vitality that drives people to want to move here.

    Maybe Kshama Sawant will be the person to bring this to the front-burner because from the looks of the majority of the current City Council, that's not even on their radar.

    Well, her and the new district elections.


    Posted Fri, Nov 15, 12:32 p.m. Inappropriate

    Dear Knute,

    Keep this: " we need to know which race we're trying to win."
    Think more about this— "Seattle sees itself" (make clearer the subject/object of each royal we)
    And before starting over chew on this:
    "Deep denial is not the denial of bad outcomes, like “global warming” or “injustice.” It’s the denial that we get what we are after. That beneath all the excuses around “unintended consequences” is a denial that these consequences were intended, hoped for, all along." http://horizonsofsignificance.wordpress.com/2012/08/24/deep-denial/


    Posted Fri, Nov 15, 1:15 p.m. Inappropriate

    The fact that companies can shrink, merge, and move away does highlight that we need to keep creating new homegrown ones. And obviously we need companies that bring money into the region, in addition to ones that shuffle money within the region.

    But it's amusing that we worry about the lack of another Amazon, Microsoft, or Boeing on the rise. Yes it would be great. But most cities don't have a single company like those, with payrolls in the several billions in two cases, or growing explosively like Amazon.


    Posted Fri, Nov 15, 3:42 p.m. Inappropriate

    Imagination fled to a few small corners of the private economy long ago because a generation of political power which was most devoted to keeping what they had rather than making what they needed or wanted for the future. Infrastructure was used up beyond its capacity and not repaired, let alone expanded for the last 30-40 years. The underclass grew and became more persistent compared to 30-40 years ago. An hour of work buys less higher education than it did 30-40 years ago.

    People in this region and this country as a whole are in a bunker mentality. We do not lack for bold, promising visions that could get people excited. We lack for people willing to leave their bunkers and get excited about anything in the public realm. We lack for people who are willing to sacrifice now to create a better future. I see a citizenry that is interested in watching the world happen to them more than they are interested in creating the world they want for themselves. We want government, but we want it for everyone else, and we want it for free. We want to go home. We don't want to compete. We want to nap in our houses and not deal with other people. Our culture is more dynamic than the rest of this country's - but anymore, that's not saying much at all.

    The only way this changes is if political power leaves the hands its been in, who have a track record of myopic failure, and transfers to people who are actually ready to lead, take risks, and succeed.


    Posted Fri, Nov 15, 5:20 p.m. Inappropriate

    One problem is that a lot of people are patriotic only until taxes are involved, then it's more about themselves rather what's good for the country or community.


    Posted Fri, Nov 15, 8:58 p.m. Inappropriate

    Your list of mega-projects in the opening is presented as if they are forward-thinking, economical, efficient improvements designed to benefit and serve the majority of people living in Seattle. They’re not. They’re crafted to suit a narrow group of affluent special interests and they are over-priced, sub-optimal schemes often resulting in more congestion and less serviceability than the structures they replace e.g. Mercer Mess , I-99 tunnel, etc. And please save the comparison of SR-520 with the “bigger” Ship Canal of yesteryear. Today wealthy neighborhood visionaries would demand that the entire course be routed through a tunnel or under a tip-up lidded park so that the locals could ultimately pretend it wasn’t there.

    Change is not growth…that’s why they call it change.

    (How’s it going -mhays? Have a great holiday season.)


    Posted Sat, Nov 16, 6:39 a.m. Inappropriate

    Well expressed. And oh so true...

    Posted Sun, Nov 17, 8:43 a.m. Inappropriate

    All the projects mentioned are designed to accommodate growth or promote it. That comparisons regarding 520 and the Ship Canal come from Smith. The projects are not growth neutral; whether they're the right things to do or not--yes, debate away.

    Posted Sun, Nov 17, 11:46 a.m. Inappropriate

    "All the projects mentioned are designed to accommodate growth or promote it"

    More accurately -as with Sound Transit- they're designed to *funnel* growth to preferred locations, namely downtown Seattle. Even despite it being uneconomic. But as we know, subsidies aren't very visible...

    see http://bit.ly/PRaHOQ as an illustration of this point, using the same impact fee methodology applied to suburban residential developments.

    Posted Sat, Nov 30, 1:51 p.m. Inappropriate

    Subsidies and tolls are no way to run a business of any kind.

    Posted Sat, Nov 16, 6:29 a.m. Inappropriate

    Please stop illustrating these stories with telephoto shots of the downtown skyline. It's getting old. But worse, it ignores all the neighborhoods of Seattle where its people and voters live and many work. Downtown is only a one square mile postage stamp -- indeed one positioned very inaccessibly.

    Do fancy downtown office buildings define a city?

    Posted Sat, Nov 30, 2:09 p.m. Inappropriate

    Fancy downtowns define the surge of well paid high tech young individuals who can afford to pay $2400 for a brand new apartment, instead of choosing to spend $2400 a month to buy a home or condo that costs about $400,000.

    Such an immature lifestyle choice, promoted by city leaders, and by corporate titans such as Bezos. Luxury at a young age, with income spent on consumption (rent) instead of saving for down payment or permanent home. The tech industry is going to keep growing, but will very young multi-millionaire employees by the hundreds be the norm? I hope that profits and excess wealth will be better distributed than that.

    Consumers are paying too much for technology.

    Did the huge recession not teach us anything about money choices?

    Posted Sun, Nov 17, 12:52 p.m. Inappropriate

    One perspective that is rarely heard is the one that says Seattle, because of its constricted "island" geography, should be careful about how much growth/congestion/soaring real estate prices it can actually absorb. Density-worshippers and urbanists wave off such concerns, saying the alternative would be sprawl. Not necessarily, if one had the land-use planning tools that would created outer cities, linked by good transit.

    Not ready to advocate this "poly-nucleated" strategy that once was conventional wisdom -- just wanting it back on the table for debate.

    Posted Sun, Nov 17, 3:49 p.m. Inappropriate

    "Back on the table" is the correct phrasing— PSRC having taken it off the table and summarily replaced the very doable polycentric Vision 2020 with an ultra-compact Vision 2040. PSRC being another of those pseudo-elected bodies protested herein by crossrip whenever given half an opportunity.

    Is MacDonald ever going to update his reality check, has he been bought off, or is he satisfied by the response that PSRC buried at "Background," Appendix IIA (2009)? "the Regional Growth Strategy was understood to be a long-term commitment to 'bend the trend'. . . At the regional geography level, in most counties, recent growth in the Metropolitan Cities, Core Cities and Larger Cities falls short of the 17.5 percent mark, while growth in the Small Cities, Unincorporated Urban Growth Areas and Rural areas exceeds the mark." http://www.psrc.org/growth/vision2040/background


    Posted Mon, Nov 18, 9:33 a.m. Inappropriate

    PSRC being another of those pseudo-elected bodies protested herein by crossrip whenever given half an opportunity.

    Huh? The PSRC is just a MPO. It only exists to divvy up some federal grant money. It is nothing like Sound Transit, which I do write about. Sound Transit is an appointive-board municipality with vast taxing, spending, bond-issuing, rail line and station setting, and ordinance making governmental powers.

    The PSRC and Sound Transit are fundamentally dissimilar. How could you be so confused about that? Indeed, Sound Transit now criticizes the PSRC. It now blames the PSRC for estimating too many jobs would exist in downtown Seattle. Those flawed studies are what Sound Transit and it's enablers used to "justify" the excessive taxing and spending on the light rail system that now exists.


    Posted Mon, Nov 18, 2:07 p.m. Inappropriate

    crossrip: PSRC and ST are complementary to each other. Think of PSRC as the land-planning/zoning board for the region. ST is designed to serve that zoning plan.

    It matters little who has custody of the money. What matters is how poor is the return on that investment (OK, I'll grant you the regressive taxation argument you've perfected).

    Although it's interesting to hear ST is criticizing PSRC's allocation of future downtown employment growth, that's only a family squabble. The whole 'web' that controls the area's growth extends far & wide -- and has claimed too many people in high office and completely mesmerized them.

    About ten years ago, I engaged current state Treasurer McIntire (then my state rep) on ST and he told me he "wasn't going to go there." What does that tell you?

    Two decades ago Jim McIntire advised Gov. Gardner's Growth Strategies Commission that the 'secret sauce' for controlling growth was pushing up land prices. And to think this fellow claims a PhD in economics. More like a PhD in social-engineering.

    Posted Sun, Nov 17, 8:33 p.m. Inappropriate

    "Density-worshippers and urbanists wave off such concerns..."

    I'm sorry, but referring to the results of recent developments as driven by "density worshippers and urbanists" is just delusional - as far as density, Seattle lags far behind the curve. Vancouver went about traditional urban density with a purpose. Portland went another way, getting creative with small spaces, sub-dividing, and allowing for zoning rules to stretch to keep neighborhoods "residential" but supporting more types of housing. The distinguishing characteristic of our city for a generation was just how UN-DENSE it was, considering all the geographic barriers, and how neighborhood dwellers were happy to kick the ladder out from underneath them once they got their little fenced yard a 5- or 10-minute drive from downtown.

    Seattle had a small city mentality that it held onto for entirely too long. The time for "smart, measured" growth was 20-30 years ago, and we utterly missed that boat (voted down first light rail, Seattle Commons, fought zoning, etc, etc, etc.)


    Posted Fri, Nov 22, 6:36 a.m. Inappropriate

    Maybe Seattle wants to be a small city. Maybe its residents want it to be a small city. Maybe those who want a big city could consider some that already exist, i.e., New York city, San Francisco, LA, Chicago, and many more. There is plenty of geographic and climate diversity to choose from. So please consider choosing one and moving there if that's the experience you crave.

    I don't know if it's correct, but the Seattle Times recently ran an article noting 20% plus vacancy rate in downtown Seattle. And yet we're building big tenements like demand is outstripping supply. I don't see it.

    So we've missed the time for smart measured growth? Excellent! Maybe it's because some of us at least don't want it. Those who want to live in density have many choices. Please make them and leave the rest of us in peace. This request is no more unreasonable than asking those of us who want what we have, or less, to accept a forest of new tenements and ugly modern boxes, not to mention "apodments" sprouting up in tight quarters of established neighborhoods.


    Posted Sat, Nov 30, 2:12 p.m. Inappropriate

    Growth is always going to be more organic than forced. Outer cities are already growing quickly, mainly because of that high tech tool the internet.

    Good transit, the old fashioned car, is far cheaper than any "good" transit whether in city or outer cities.

    The old adage that I-5 would become one big metropolitan growth corridor from CA to Canada is definitely happening.

    You can plan, but you cannot make people live like sardines.

    Posted Sun, Nov 24, 12:59 p.m. Inappropriate

    The question is past time to ask--are there limits to growth? Is there a limit to the number of people who can live in this area? Does it make sense to pass political rewards for ever-more illegal and legal immigrants to come here and thus make it the primary factor in our unsustainable population growth? Are there solutions to traffic congestion and sewer rebuilding and not just brief and expensive ameliorations of the problems created? Is Puget Sound polluted enough? Are the ecosystems simplified enough? Is it past time for timber and fishing industries to stop making a mockery of the word, "sustainable."
    Or is it well past time to begin thinking that any reasonable sustainability definition must include the increase in a “population footprint” that brings pollution, and environmental and ecological degradation. Of course the definition must also take into account the laws of nature. All growing organic communities – bacteria in a petri dish, mussels on a tidal shelf, or humans on a planet – eventually meet physical limits, stop growing, reach maturity. In the natural world, species growth ends in either a stable homeostasis with the environment, or in collapse. Gaining that equilibrium should be considered the greatest achievement of any form of life. But humans, who take great pride in being able to “dominate” nature, feel compelled to seek every possible way to prove that ability by straining sustainability in order to achieve an assumed unlimited growth. Only a rare few now appear to have a recognition of limits. “Sustainable growth” is a nice idea, like “perpetual motion,” but impossible in the physical world. Dr. Albert Bartlett, Emeritus professor of physics at the University of Colorado, urges scientists, environmentalists, and politicians to speak honestly about growth and avoid inclinations of being overly optimistic and obfuscatingly vague. That is the nice way to say that eyes and ears desperately need opening.

    But glad-handing politicians prefer currying favor by vaguely referencing quality of life, and well-being in discussing sustainability. This is satisfactorily abstract, and the connotations elicit thoughtless but feel-good responses. And it avoids what must be understood–the growing thunder clouds of unsustainability on the horizon.

    America’s and this area's infrastructure is collapsing. Tens of thousands of bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. A third of the nation’s highways are in poor or mediocre shape. Massively leaking water and sewage systems are creating health hazards and contaminating rivers and streams. Weakened and under-maintained levees and dams tower over communities and schools. And the power grid is increasingly maxed out, disrupting millions of lives and putting entire cities in the dark. The crumbling of America that is just around the bend gets little practical political attention.

    Not recognized is that we are all on the deck of the Titanic, arguing about whether the deck chairs are made from sustainable hemp fibers or petroleum-based polyester. City, county, state and national government agencies now promote what James Lovelock called “delusional rhetoric.” He says it is “pedaled by green politicians and businessmen…and makes clear we have weaved the sound of the alarm clock into our dreams.” He also compares sustainable development to “deathbed snake oil pedaled by an alternative-medicine quack.”

    Unsustainability must be understood as the sound of a train approaching while continuing to move along on the rails toward the sound, seemingly stuck to them. The “train” that is approaching mankind today is all the consequences of an industrial age creating a population beyond carrying capacity. The necessities that support life are being rapidly depleted, and mankind is stuck to the money/power rails which are continuing this.But it is clear as Lovelock noted that society continues being oblivious to this train because it refuses to even face up to just what “unsustainability” means.

    Obtusely, the meaning that should be understood of sustainability is systemically suppressed and distorted in order for society to continue pursuing ephemeral illusions such as New World Order “world-wide commerce,” while maintaining an economic ethic that has an expanding-bacteria-in-a-petrie dish life that feeds off of heavy indebtedness while pursuing rigorous maximization of consumption. Deeply instilled into the systemic fabric is the belief system that growth is essential. The system feeds the belief that individuals can possibly gain more of everything, and this results in believing that everything essential is unlimitedly available. In order to continue doing so, as with most political words, the word “sustainability” has evolved into much that is essentially irrelevant to its cause and effect. Also facilitating this is the fact that politicians love to promise that “change” will soon bring what everyone wants.

    Reality, of course, necessitates that all environmental work must be built on a foundation consisting of an understanding that human society is at root dependent on natural ecosystems, an understanding that life-enabling capability, in all its complex inter-relationships, keeps us alive, and we lay waste to it at our peril.
    Global warming, population growth, soil loss, fossil aquifer depletion, and wholesale destruction of ecosystems are some of the elements in a perfect storm of factors now imperiling the future. But the politics of the U.S. “democratic” system and its money/power influence purposely distorts this unsustainability. The city of Seattle Office of “Sustainability” and Environment provides this definition of sustainability: it is “long-term economic, social, and ecological health and vitality” of society. That sounds good, doesn’t it? But including “social” health in the definition opens up a Pandora's box of political pandering having little to do with what unsustainability must be understood to mean. Instead it necessitates repeating certain words, like “multiculturalism,” and “diversity” as means to somehow solving all problems. The city office adds that it is meeting “current needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” Apparently it assumes that meeting present “needs” as defined by the city doesn’t negate achieving future ones. For example, present “social” and “diversity” needs by this Seattle city government is perceived as serving the needs of illegal immigrants in a wide variety of ways, but, in doing so, these acts create a lure for increasing numbers of illegals to come here, and that exacerbates what most influences unsustainability: too rapid population growth. In addition, the city sustainability savants say, “Seattle will grow in ways that sustain its citizens' core values, which include community, environmental stewardship, economic opportunity and security, and social equity.”

    Thus Seattle will somehow stick to the rails of achieving “growth” while maximizing “social equity” without seriously addressing the loud roar of oncoming unsustainability, thus “compromising” future generations’ needs. So the city continues on its mindless treadmill which, to some degree recognizes consequences of unsustainability, but essentially ignores causes of it. It identifies climate protection and seeks to cancel out CO2 emissions without addressing deliberately adding more CO2 emitters. “Green initiatives” involve “goals” of recycling and lessening energy requirements while building ever more buildings to accommodate “growth” goals. And, finally the city seeks to “restore” the city’s waters while adding to the pollution impacts on them. It does this because it is doing everything it can to increase the density and amount of population, all in the name of the political mandate of appealing for an assumed unlimited growth.

    Posted Sat, Nov 30, 2:17 p.m. Inappropriate

    You're a good writer. I agree with most of this.

    Posted Sun, Dec 1, 9:10 a.m. Inappropriate

    Analogies drawn from biological theories aren't particularly helpful nor valid.

    Societies aren't biological entities -- and their physical expression, i.e. their settlements (cities) aren't either. They're organized 'networks' (markets) of resources, many of which are man-made, including its people. They are bounded only by the fixed limitations of space (geography and nature) and are further subject to the limits imposed by those who 'organize' them (governments, politicians, corporations, individuals). These latter can be harmful or beneficial, depending on the wisdom of those who craft the rules of organization. (Seattle, like many other metropolitan areas, has suffered much at the hands of these folk. That's why I no longer live there.)

    You write: "The system feeds the belief that individuals can possibly gain more of everything".

    Not only is this an extension of the false biological analog, it is also fatalistic and, in the end, defeatist (if not death-pursuing/worshipping.)

    When you instead perceive cities as man-made organisms (most notably encompassing the association/network of its residents who voluntarily trade their product with one another), there's no reason to consider that there's a limit to "gain" -- outside of whatever bounds that spatial (geographic) limits may impose (and such are not 'fixed' either, cf. the substantial expansion in crop yields.)

    Oh ye of little faith...

    Posted Sat, Nov 30, 1:48 p.m. Inappropriate

    ... from the article: Sure, we’re a pretty good place for start-ups, but Seattle tech booster Chris DeVore recently wrote that while Seattle is pretty good at launching companies, “It’s been a long time since a new Seattle-based company produced a huge windfall.” He means a company, like Microsoft or Amazon, that lifted employees and investors by generating lots of wealth.

    Really? That's the goal for Seattle growth? To "generate lots of wealth"? That's disgusting actually, and I believe in rewarding innovation, ingenuity and job creation, but I don't believe in making zillionaires out of young employees who simply happen to be at the right company at the right time.

    Over and over we see our societal "Seattle" values being torn down. What happened to the concept of respecting your neighbors, and helping everyone achieve? Just the high tech industry gets to achieve giant wealth, and glory over the rest of the peons they must rub shoulders with?

    Just call us Californicated.

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