Resilience is The New Black

From Naked Capitalism:  http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/05/resilience-is-the-new-black.html

by May 9, 2015

Yves here. One does not have to look hard to discern the troubling message of this post: that people are no longer motivated by appeals to broader, more abstract values, that what motivates them are more narrow, survival-oriented approaches.

While it’s always a bit dangerous to challenge someone on what he considers to be his his home turf, I wonder whether Dr. Nelson Lebo III’s abandonment of the notion of sustainability has less to do with that idea not being as motivating as he had hoped, versus the march from triumph to triumph of disposable products and planned obsolescence. It’s far more work than it used to be to buck that trend, and most people are ever more time stressed. But people also fall prey to conformity. Do you really need a new phone every two years? Or to churn your other devices as often as you do? People are horrified to see how antique my cell phone is, and I find their disapproval comical.

But Lebo’s reading is based on a sense that individuals are pulling in their focus to me, mine, and my family. It’s reminiscent of a conversation I had with a friend who is the ex-wife of a billionaire, now living modestly and teaching calculus as an adjunct at a local college. She said:

I can’t get concerned any more about tragedies. We have billions of people living on this planet who are going to die because it can’t support them. I used to care about people dying in Guatemala but now I think that saving lives now means more deaths later. I know it sounds selfish but I’ve decided to care about science and my family and not much else.

I wonder how widely her sort of thinking is shared.

By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor-in-chief of The Automatic Earth. Originally published at Automatic Earth

This is another essay from our friend Dr. Nelson Lebo III in New Zealand. Nelson is a certified expert in everything to do with resilience, especially how to build a home and a community designed to withstand disasters, be they natural or man-made, an earthquake or Baltimore. Aware that he may rub quite a few people the wrong way, he explains here why he has shifted from seeing what he does in the context of sustainability, to that of resilience. There’s something profoundly dark in that shift, but it’s not all bad.

Nelson Lebo III: Sustainability is so 2007. Those were the heady days before the Global Financial Crisis, before $2-plus/litre petrol here in New Zealand, before the failed Copenhagen Climate Summit, before the Christchurch earthquakes, before the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP)…the list continues.

Since 2008, informed conversations on the economy, the environment, and energy have shifted from ‘sustainability’ to ‘resilience’. There are undoubtedly many reasons for this shift, but I’ll focus on just two: undeniable trends and a loss of faith. Let me explain.

Since 2008, most of the pre-existing trends in income inequality, extreme weather events and energy price volatility have ramped up. Sustainability is about halting and reversing these trends, but there is essentially no evidence of that type of progress, and in fact the data shows the opposite.

Plenty of quantitative data exists for the last seven years to document these accelerated trends, the most obvious is the continually widening gap between rich and poor everyone else. The second wave of commentary on the Baltimore riots (after the superficiality of the mainstream media) has been about the lack of economic activity and opportunity in many of the largely African-American neighbourhoods.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/05/resilience-is-the-new-black.html

One Response to “Resilience is The New Black”

  1. Edith Pilkington Says:

    I read Yves Smith from time to time and have quoted from some of her better pieces. This one though?

    “Resilience, the latest urban policy and think tank buzzword extolled upon the world’s urban dwellers, operates as an insidious alias to dispossession and territorial stigmatisation.

    . . . The steer is towards a particular vision, that of the gentrifying city embraced by policy elites enamoured with pseudo-intellectuals like Richard Florida, Leo Hollis, Andres Duany and Ed Glaeser, but universally panned by any urbanist with a sense of social justice and an ounce of theoretical awareness. A few tweeters began to smell a rat, but Rich Goulding produced my favourite: “Tell us about the most innovative synergistic initiative unleashing quality of life in your shanty town”. Already more widely across the website, and propping up the gentrified quaintness being embraced, were uncritical nods towards the urbanism of Jane Jacobs, whose defeat of New York City’s master planners is these days romanticised as a humanising vision for cities without any acknowledgement of the disruptive and cookie-cutter gentrification that such a vision has unleashed all over the world.”

    https://www.opendemocracy.net/opensecurity/tom-slater/resilience-of-neoliberal-urbanism

    What is behind most of this “new urbanist” push which uses a lot of co-opted environmentalist language is Real Estate Investment Trust that really wishes to devalue most of the property owned by middle and lower class people in order to justify displacement. It’s about tax advantage for Big Finance.

    http://base.d-p-h.info/en/dossiers/dossier-84.html


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