|Jane Jacobs has been recommended here on RoR before.|
Two Worldviews - The Trader and Taking Syndromes"The world is dotted with Paleolithic leavings," Jacobs writes, indicating that cities began as camps of hunters which traded among themselves. That there be more than one "city" is necessary. While cities did draw in raw materials -- grains, animals, minerals -- from outside, what made them possible was first the internal work they did in the city with those raw materials, and then, critically, trading that with other cities.
by A. Robert Malcom
Jane Jacobs, in Systems of Survival, points out that there are only two methods of survival. ... The second method is the unique one of humans: the capacity of being able to trade -- to exchange goods and services for other goods and services, depending again, on what is available. This method is unique -- it is non-coercive, with trading done by voluntary agreement, with mutual assent. Indeed, that is the central essence of trading, and the trading mentality. ...
Decentralisation, and Those Who Oppose It
by Peter Cresswell
Jane Jacobs pointed out in ‘The Death and Life of American Cities’ that some of the places so hated by Corbu and the planning fraternity actually worked very well. The ‘mixed use’ of streets of terraced housing and brownstones in places like Manhattan, she pointed out, are very good places to live, with private houses often cheek by jowl with shops, cafes, and the like all an easy walk away. People choose to live in such places because they like them.
New work is added to the old. The old does not disappear. We still have buggywhip manufacturers and we have more people than ever shoeing horses and we have more sailboats than anyone 500 years ago dreamed possible. However, old work does disappear -- disasterously -- in (conservative) agricultural societies where nylon fishing nets destroy the local ability to make fiber lines, where the peace corp drills a well, but when a part breaks, the villagers -- having no city to support them -- are left with a waterhole for mosquitos.
Invention comes not from whole new replacements but from improvements in some factional part of a complicated process. She did not have the word "spinoff" in those days, but used the anglicism "breakaway."
Vibrant cities are not "efficient" cities. Woeful inefficiencies are the opportunities for new ideas, new processes, new work and new leisure. Redundancy and competition are critical to success.
Adding new work is the producer's logic, not the consumer's. No consumer ever asked for the invention of the brassiere. In fact, the creation of the Maidenform company deprived some New York matrons of their dressmaker. Also, bras were invented by a dressmaker who wanted her work to hang better on her clients -- the first bras did not come from an underwear company. Ida Rosenthal invented a new kind of work, the making of brassieres. This happened over and over for thousands of years and is going on today -- wherever economies are thriving, growing, and changing.
We should measure "productivity" not just in the dollar value of goods and services, but in the change of newly added goods and services, those which did not exist at all in the previous timeframe.
Division of labor itself is sterile. A starvation economy make lack everything necessary for survival, but it will still have division of labor in goatherding, grain grinding, etc. However, new work creates new divisions of labor, thus raising the value of labor and generating new wealth.
Adding new work is the producer's logic, not the consumer's. Different kinds of guilds serve different purposes, perhaps, but of all the trade unions ever devised the ones that achieve the least for their members and do the most general harm are "consumer groups."