Monday, August 12, 2013

The One-Plan-to-Rule-Them-All — Or the Chinafication of the Bay Area

It is designed to ram “sustainable development” down the thoats of all the counties and cities of the Bay Area whether they or their seven-million citizens like it or not. Now, this blog has already explained that we’re suing to stop this plan with this lawsuit because it’s illegal and environmentally ill-considered. - James Burling/Pacific Legal Foundation

But what might be even more interesting than the legal infirmities is the striking parallel between the imposition of “stack-and-pack” housing on the hapless masses in the Bay Area and the helpless masses in rural China. It’s not a communist versus capitalist thing and its not even a grand conspiracy thing – it’s just the mind set of planners everywhere.

There is the omnipresent disdain for those boobs (like me) who actually want to live in the dirty countryside (China) or the sterile suburbs (United States.) The urban-centric planning elites apparently want to breed more urban elites by creating more urban living. The problem is that people who want to raise families would prefer not to raise them in crime-infested high density housing projects in cities run by dysfunctional city governments. The correlation between crime and density is real, the sport of corruption in city governments is blatant, and the good sense of parents to escape to the ‘burbs is irrefutable.

So what’s a planner to do? It’s easy. In China the planners have the power of the police; in the United States the planners have the “police power.” In China you can make people move by forcing them out of their rural shacks at gunpoint while in the United States you can simply keep people from building new suburban tract homes through “sustainable” zoning – which is what the Bay Area Plan is all about....

Emerging from the horrors of the planned economies of the Soviet Union and Germany, Friedrich von Hayek wrote his classic “Road to Serfdom” in the early 1940s. His thesis was simple: for a planned economy to operate it must operate by force through the power of the state. In China, the peasants have moved from feudal serfdom to the serfdom of totalitarian communism and now to the serfdom of new urban planning. In the Bay Area, we’re moving from free market housing development shaped by supply and demand to what?