26th March 2023:
If you clicked on this link thinking that you’ll find lots of arguments about why car free cities are good for the economy, then I’m afraid you’re gonna be disappointed. One of the reasons I love the idea of car-free cities so much is because I think they’re probably really bad for the economy.
Yeh, bad for the economy. I really like the idea of doing things because they are bad for the economy. Ideally, really bad. So bad, that the whole obsession with it just dies, and is never again resurrected, and people just stick to doing things that are healthy and that don’t revolve around the pursuit of wealth.
Because let’s be honest, the economy, and the whole maddening obsession with economic activity and economic indices and everything else economic, is not about human wellbeing or the production of necessities, or ensuring that everyone is happy and provided for. It’s got nothing to do with any of that. After all, if you want to cater for human wellbeing, then reducing the working week to 4 days whilst keeping wages the same would make everyone happier, and cause a lot less stress, and human wellbeing would soar. We could do it, it’s possible, but it will never happen, because it’s not good for the economy. So you see, this thing called the economy is placed ahead of human wellbeing. Human wellbeing, in fact, is sacrificed in order to have a more productive economy.
Crazy huh? Yup. This thing that gets called the economy is all about the pursuit of wealth, and in a system designed to maximise the pursuit of wealth, human wellbeing comes a poor second, and people are worked as hard and as much as can be got away with. In addition, most of what is produced is unnecessary, because it’s not done to fulfil genuine human needs, but to make a profit.
Boy racers buy special exhausts for their cars which are extra loud and produce explosive sounds, and companies actually exist to produce this mindless anti-social product, and they do so not because it is good for human well being, or because this product is essential for human needs, but because it sells and so is good for the economy. That is, it’s really bad for everyone, but good for the economy.
Arms companies produce vast amounts of deadly arms and sell them to dictators and democratic warmongers, and those arms are designed to kill, maim, and destroy human lives, human livelihoods, and human communities. They are sold to anyone who wants to buy them, as long as they don’t use them directly against us. This is done not to protect life, or to make the world a safer place, but because it makes money and is good for the economy.
Energy companies, banks, investors, pension funds, and so on, all invest heavily in fossil fuel industries. They do so not because they are responsible people investing in the future of the human race, or in securing a safe and liveable world for all generations, but because it makes money and is good for the economy.
So when I say that one of the reasons why I love car free cities so much is because I think they will be really bad for the economy, maybe you can start to see what I’m getting at.
But there’s more. This thing called the economy, which is really just a mask for the pursuit of wealth at any cost, so this mad drive by many humans to pursue wealth at any cost, which they disguise so that it sounds respectable by calling it the economy, this mad drive has driven countless species to extinction, destroyed a large chunk of the world’s ecosystems, and is destabilising the entire climate of the earth, to the point where it may not be able to sustain life as we know it.
Not only that, but it has destroyed the social fabric of our towns and cities, so that they are no longer even recognisable to how they used to be, because they used to be far more social places to be, with a lot more community driven businesses and activity. Now they are just places where you park and shop.
So I’m not going to be arguing for car free cities because car free cities are good for the economy. If they were good for the economy, I would abandon the idea and stick with cars. Thankfully, car free cities are not good for the economy, instead, they are good for humans, for human wellbeing, for the planet, for human self respect, dignity, and for human scale livelihoods.
I see time and time again people coming up with great ideas for the uplifting of the human race or for the betterment of all, yet having to justify those ideas by explaining how they will be good for the economy. Yuck. It’s disgusting. Can we all start to show our disgust at the idea of doing anything good for the economy, and start to pelt politicians and economists with the contents of our compost bins every time they dare to suggest that anything we do has to be good for the economy.
To hell with the economy and the pursuit of wealth. And hey, I’m no socialist, or communist, just a human being who isn’t interested in being yoked to this leviathan they call the economy. No thanks.
So no, car free cities are not good for the economy, they’re really bad for the economy, and we should all jump up and down and celebrate that fact, because it means that we’ll all be a lot happier and a lot freer if we found ourselves living in one.