Friday, April 30, 2010

W-Shaped Recession and Urban Development

Megan McArdle at The Atlantic is calling attention to the possibility that Greece is the trigger to drag us all into the second wave of the "W-Shaped Recession", the way there's often a second dip before a full-on recovery. It's definitely something you need to hedge against, if you haven't already.

In other news, Tim Logan at The Big Money says that Prof Richard Florida, the guy who invented the "Creative Class Thesis", is undermining his own thesis in his new book, The Great Reset. Florida's new idea in this book is that, we need to help kick people out of under-performing cities such as Rust Belt, so that they can go to where the jobs are. Which is counter to his "Build it and they will come" thesis of revitalizing the downtown club scene.

It's great to see Florida acknowledging his own mistake. I've always thought that he was mistaking the symptom for the cause. Art is a luxury good, as Prof Carroll Quigley would say. You have to have rich people around to consume luxury goods, including art. Artists thrive because the city has plenty of jobs and rich people, not that artists bring jobs into a city. For a city to grow, you need jobs, a reason for people to go there. That seems to be a foreign idea to Florida and his supporters, who don't have to work for a living.

Plus, there are several variations on the "creative class" idea, some of which include engineers, others purely art. Despite the artistic element of architecture and industrial design, applied science has little to do with art. In the first place, engineering can create jobs, whereas art is kind of a service industry. It's dangerous when the urban developer confuse the two.

The US Army cancelled Non-Line-Of-Sight-Launch-Station, their new smart missile system. Unfortunately, that has not erased the precision short-range strike/recon requirement from the books. I've always thought that NLOS-LS was kind of a waste, where you have this big box that you toss out afterwards. Plus how are you going to manhandle it into position?

The strike requirement, you can substitute with precision mortars. It's long past due that the Army acquire a precision mortar munition, when the Brits and Scandinavians already do. A laser-guided mortar will be great.

For the recon requirement, perhaps we will resurrect the fiber-optic guidance technology. You can even string the fiber behind mortar bombs as they fly off.

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