Reaction/Analysis to the reading The Nature of Economies

Student / Disi Gao

 Jane Jacobs explains macro-evolution of economies in a Platonic dialogue format. The fiction character Hiram begins with the example of the co-development of nature, then gradually extends to the concept to economies that economies are just like living organisms. He states two principles of development, differentiation emerging from generality and differentiations becomes generalities from which further differentiations emerge. The same principles well fit into development of economies. All the economic activities are differentiated from the oldest economic generalities sharing and trading. There are some interesting concepts such like economy gene pool, Thing Theory, etc. Then he went on to talk the nature of expansion in Chapter 3. The principle is Expansion depends on capturing and using transient energy. The more different means a system possesses for recapturing, using and passing around energy before its discharge from the system, the lager are the cumulative consequences of the energy it receives. The article gives plenty of examples of comparison between natural development and economic development, it makes easier to understand the economic development as a living organism. The concept of co-development in terms of what we learned in class is co-evolution, or macro-evolution. The only thing that eluded me is why the dialogue. Many examples seem to not fully evidential, therefore it makes the author's theory floating in the air. However it does help me to understand how to think economy as natural but not artificial.

•Reaction/Analysis to the in-class film "The Take"

 "The Take" completely crushed the cliché that people need bosses/leaders, few privileged people to manage them and make best decides for all. On the contrary, when there are only few people on the top of the pyramid, they make decisions for their own interests and benefits but not for all the people beneath their feet. The workers in Argentina proved that people can make decisions for themselves and run the factories better than when somebody else were in charge. They works harder and each is a monitor to other people. The vote for decisions, so everyone's voice could be heard. The result is the efficiency increases, the net cost decreases, and the salaries of worker increase. "The Take" shows us confidently that political and economical sustainability is possible to attain. 

•Extra Credit: "In the Global Garden: John Lyle's Approach to Protected Areas"

 Terry Young (PhD), from the department of geography and anthropology, gave a lecture on protected areas. He described the different kinds of protected areas, include nature reserve, wildness area, national park, natural monument, species habitat, protected landscape and seascape, and protected area with sustainable use of resources. His lecture reminds of my own experience with protected areas. I had visited Sequoia National Park during spring break. The park features huge old trees and various animals. I only had little knowledge about protected areas before my visit to the national park. The guide work there told us the forest there holds all the soil on the ground so that it won't be flushed into the river by the rain and so people live at downstream could have clean water and rich soil that yield oranges supplied most the states from west to east. If the forest was logged down, the whole area would become desert. The idea of Dr Young that change the concrete river duct to bio-swale reminds me an article that talks about the city design of Curitiba, a city in southeast Brazil. The major of Curitiba, Lerner Jaime, an architect and urban planner, designed the flood control system as five parks with dammed lakes as flood storages. The original plan from the federal was building concrete underground ducts, but Jaime's design cost no more than the original plan and create green area in the city. Then, look at LA river, which is tied in concrete banks, can be merely called a river most of the time, it looks more like an waste water stream. There are so many things people need to rethink about nature and how to be part of the nature. In the lecture, Dr Young had also warned that because the protected area is remote and isolated from people's life, most people easily think that the nature is doing just fine out there, therefore, people and the nature should be blended together, and people need to be more consciousness in protecting nature.