hong kong
One View of the Future

What will the world’s sprawl of human beings look like in every major urban world centre in the next ten, fifty or one hundred years? Whichever way the world will wend, it all has something to do with that mythical search for the so-called Good Life. But how is humanity’s never-ending ethereal search for the so-called ‘Good Life’ now most manifestly to be seen in 2018? One clue may be the growing multitudes of over-weight, drug and alcohol-ridden, anxious, distressed, unwell bodies of so many who live excessively self-indulgent lifestyles, oblivious what their lifestyles in search of ‘the Good Life’ are doing to themselves and society itself.

But could the main contributing factor and source of so much individual angst, collectively, also be a mere manifestation of the growing glut of the same dis-ease, at a societal level, that would include: so much out-of-control urban development and effects of high-density ways of life that are totally disruptive of the what humans have formerly lived for centuries? These new lifestyles exacerbated and magnified by the: extreme pressures of over-population; the glut of constant world war and the massive numbers of consequent immigrants and refugees that are everywhere being loosed throughout the world, and; the total corruption of one-time democratic processes of decision-making, at all levels of government, that now have been replaced by authoritarian, dictatorial, fascist processes? In each case, the one a mirrored image of the other?

At a societal level, who will ultimately be the ones who will finally put a stop to, or continue to fuel, so many imbalances in today’s world? Will it be the NIMBY’s (No In My Backyard) or the YIMBY’S (Yes in my Backyard)? Will it be We, the people or ‘The Big Boys’ and ‘Gothamite Thugs’ of Gotham? Which ones will prove to be the actual visionary healers of society or the hypocritical purveyors of ever more societal ill’s, distress and dis-ease?

To answer such question requires first pondering what will be the single-most dynamic that finally tips the battle for humanity and Planet Earth’s survival before everything smacks, headlong, into the same unavoidable, insurmountable, fatal Supply & Demand Wall, where the supply will never be able to keep up with the demand?

Will the most critical, deciding factor of this fatal collision with the Wall end up being a: lack of fresh, clean air, pure water or healthy, nutritious food; the elimination of the last detached single family homes, neighbourhoods and communities; a lack of open green spaces replaced by high-rise, high-density environments? Or will the deciding factor be: the lack of sunlight and views of nature’s beauty, blocked out by ugly, bland concrete structures everywhere, or; the oppressive effects of constantly-mounting traffic congestion and gridlock; the unaffordable reality of ever being able to buy one’s own home, and the negative accumulative effects of renting from money-hungry landlords or living in chaotic communal settings? Or perhaps the deciding factor will end up being the lack of simple, basic building materials, like sand, required to make the massive amounts of concrete needed to construct one giant, sprawling ‘Hong Kong’ throughout the world? Or maybe the answer is: All of The Above!

For over forty years, this writer has been travelling, to and from, Sydney, Australia, the hometown of his wife, and his own ‘hometowns’ of Vancouver, Canada and San Francisco, USA; observing and experiencing, first-hand, how each of these major urban centre’s have chosen to evolve themselves, while addressing all the factors already mentioned. The conclusion arrived at is that if one were to use, as a barometer, any one of them, but especially Sydney, and how each has chosen to continue along the same destructive path of insane, excessive over development, one would have to conclude that that barometer is continuing to plummet at such an alarming rate as to suggest the coming of a horrific, monstrously-violent storm, that one-day will engulf all of human civilization to whatever nefarious, pitiful end.

Common sense, however, should already be loudly-screaming at every citizen and leader in the world that it’s the destructive, accumulative effects of everything that has been mentioned in addition to the dysfunctional, undemocratic, fascist political processes that are perpetually driving the dynamics of world war that, in turn, is causing the mass displacement of immigrants and refugees to other countries whose infrastructure already can barely keep up with the needs of their own people, and, finally: the consequent drain of all the earth’s natural, finite resources that are making everything totally unsustainable until it all comes down to a basic matter of ‘Robbing Peter to Pay Paul’. This should already be a no-brainer, but what to do about it?

To put this crisis in another way, using the metaphor of war rather than meteorology to make more clear what all is now going on in places like Sydney, Australia, one only has to glance at the wealth of brilliant investigative articles that daily appear on the pages of local papers, like the Sydney Morning Herald, to realize the magnitude and intensity of the ‘shooting war’ and ‘life and death’ struggles that are underway for either the survival or demise of Sydney as it now is. The many pounding salvos coming from all sides reflect the pitched battles everywhere underway between all those seeking to either stop or step-up the hijacking of the once-upon-a-time traditional, time-honoured values of the Australian people, before, that is, too many corrupt politicians, city officials and corporate robber barons instead pointed the Titanic in their part of the world on an entirely different course and direction. The constant roar of all their salvos make the same sounds as those that are fuelling the same conflicts being heard ‘round the world over: chaotic housing markets, driven by offshore investors, speculators and hostile governments with thoughts of either economic or actual invasions and takeover’s on their minds; the constant warfare causing the crunch and squeeze of human beings caught in the no-man’s lands of the maelstrom, fleeing to or fleeing from somewhere, searching for some harbour of safety or modicum of peace and stability.

But, as each year passes, it’s all increasingly a cruel mirage. The prevailing dishonest and dishonourable practices and policies of both Western and eastern business, corporate, financial and political forces are the same as to wherever one tries to run; every outside interest seeking to sink their claws ever-deeper into the body politic, sucking out the life-blood of wherever, whether it be Australia, Canada, the U.S. or every other place on the earth; sucking out the essence of what originally made each place the great and unique entity that so many people have long admired and sought to emulate.

In the perpetual war underway to win over the minds, hearts and pocketbooks of all the people to their way of thinking about life and reality, The Big Boys and Gothamite Thugs are constantly using whatever lofty platform they have to brainwash the people to believe in and follow their evil philosophy that is always cast in the simple guise of Supply & Demand or some glitzy Hi-Tech promo. The Big Boys and Thugs simply provide the constant war that supply’s all the immigrants, refugees and population growth and, as the demand exponentially grows for everything: war armaments, housing, land, infrastructure; highways; airports, cruise ships, high-tech toys or whatever, and so on they simply supply whatever is needed. The only problem is that this nefarious solution to create ‘The Good Life’ for all concerned is that it will take many more planet earth’s that just our current one to keep the whole scam going.

Yet because of the dominant world view that rules, that could otherwise be characterized as ‘a fervent religious belief’ in perpetual growth and expansion as the sole answer to every human and societal problem and definition of what constitutes the Good Life, every major urban centre in the world must virtually be kept under siege and forced to forever totally transform itself; the same ‘solutions’ destroying, in the process, what human beings everywhere are longing for, fighting for and yet losing every day.

As one example, the Australian press is filled every day with one ‘leaked’ confidential file after another that uncovers yet another twist of how all the bastards – the Chinese Communist Government, for one – is obsessively and ruthlessly pouring obscene amounts of money into Australia’s own every-greedy governmental coffers, through one proxy investor or dummy corporation after another, to take over everything for themselves. As is the case with similar entities in every country – be it their Reserve Banks, Corporate Think Tank Institutes, Business Councils or Chambers of Commerce, who all subscribe to the same world view, and work diligently 24/7, 365 days of the year to promote it – each has their own platform in every mainstream corporate press. These platforms constantly pound the people every which they turn, without ever seeking the tacit consent and approval of the citizenry and its voting population, and more than not even against their will, daily set priorities and make sweeping critical decisions about the future that it expects governments to duly adhere to and obediently profess, as if they were preaching gospel to the sycophants, about such basic matters as: land values; housing speculation; zoning regulation recommendations; refugee-immigrant quotas and policies, and; infrastructure development, no matter how sweeping in scope.

This reality recently was made patently clear by two articles that appeared in the Sydney Morning Herald. Both articles typical of the times in which the world, as a whole, now lives and the kind of sweeping broadsides that are daily being fired, as warnings and directives, across the bow of every ship of state, large or small, from the giant metropolis to the tiny city council, to toe the party-line, take off the gloves, draw their swords and give no quarter to whatever NIMBY’s and their allies dare to aspire to an entirely different world view of life.

One article in question, (“New homeowners locked out by zoning”, 9 March, 2018, SMH, Eryk Bagshaw), called attention to a so-called ‘research paper’ that was put out by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA), that asserts it’s the development restrictions, created by recalcitrant city councils and the NIMBY’s who have banded together to try to slow down: the allowed numbers of incoming immigrants and refugees; stop or reduce the unwanted effects of population explosion and consequent increased demand for ever more infrastructure projects, or: put a stop to the consequent ever-denser, more concretized, less green, neighbourhoods and communities to be planned for the future. It’s the same refrain that can be heard uttered in the press in Vancouver, San Francisco or wherever else.

According to the RBA’s so-called ‘research’, it’s these same ‘bad guys’ who are always interfering  with ‘progress’, destroying the Big Boys Supply and Demand formula and consequently locking out many of those unfortunate ones who will never be able to afford to ever become a home owner and contribute to the prosperity of society.

A similar article also came out in the Sydney Morning Herald on the same day that provided yet a slightly different analysis of a report put out by Australia’s Grattan Institute that gave a different slant to the issue of affordability of housing in the greater Sydney region of New South Wales. It called attention to the long-standing battle that has traditionally pitted: NIMBY’s versus YIMBY’s; home owners versus home buyers, and; developers versus city councils; yet the meta-message of the Grattan Report was that its futile to resist what is inevitable because once the non-home owners and frustrated home buyers inevitably become the majority of the voting population they, and their development-minded community allies, will ultimately win the battle and, thus, the last of the detached single family homes and neighbourhood hold-outs will be eliminated; to be replaced by medium density communities that, in turn, will be replaced by ever-higher, every-denser ‘Hong Kong-style’ developments that will become the norm in the Brave New World scenario that lies ahead for the entire human race. (“Zoned Out, Sydney’s sprawl has reached breaking point”, 9 March, 2018, SMH, Chris Kohler).

Nothing much was made in the Bagshaw or Kohler article about who the real culprits always are in this scenario being played out between: investors, speculators, politicians, developers, city planners, architects, schools of business and the real estate industry who seldom consider in their massive urban projects enough affordable housing, smaller, more economical and environmentally-sensitive dwellings, built solely with recycled materials that conserve the earth’s ever-receding finite natural resources. The same goes with the manufacture of every bigger, more powerful automobiles and the complex highway systems needed to convey them to and from these massive developments. But then this is what is part and parcel of the conspiratorial world view that forever continues to be the engine that drives everything ever-forward.

In terms of Sydney’s next almost unimaginable large, mega-urban development plan currently underway – variously called the West & North Connex, Western Sydney International airport at Badgerys Creek, and new tri-city suburbs project – a giant new motorway required to link all these projects together over the some 50-60 kilometres from inner city to the hinterlands, is already destructively plowing through Sydney’s historic neighbourhoods in spite of the numbers of citizens who are flinging their bodies in the way to try to stop all the devastation to the human and natural landscapes. Once it’s all completed, Sydney will end up becoming the size of another London, Singapore or Mumbai; the city of Parramatta on its western edges will become a large, high-rise, sprawling ‘second Sydney’; and yet a third massive complex of surrounding rural townships, that formerly provided the gardens that feed Sydney, will instead become a vast urban complex the size of the current city of Adelaide.

Such sweeping developments are being allowed because the majority of the populace is equally culpable. They’ve Drunk the Spiked Cool-Aid offered to them and no longer believe that smaller cities with more economical dwellings and the low-key lifestyle that goes with them is still possible. They’re willing to accept the continued massive congestion of automobiles, commuting long distances, on archaic 1960’s-style motorways, and the lifestyles that go with it are the way to go. Ever-bigger and ever-flashier are the operative deregueur language of a civilization that has gone mad and no longer knows where it’s going. It’s a civilization that simply demands of all its followers an abiding belief in the madness of demanding ever-bigger everything: houses, cars, boats, planes, cruise ships, highways, and airports with more and more high-tech flash.

So this is the on-going reality of the entire so-called modern world that won’t do anything different other than what it has been doing for centuries. The messages of those like the Reserve Bank of Australia and Grattan Institute to all those who may disagree are lost on no one; it’s shut up, get out of the way, and allow the development forces of the future to have their way, ostensibly, in the long run, for the benefit of all concerned. Which, of course, it won’t, but then this is part and parcel of the colossal ruse of the conspiratorial world view.

For years, this writer has answered the challenge to confront this dystopian view of life, drawn his own proverbial sword and engage in combat by authoring any number of companion articles, each of which attempts to present, as a foil, yet another world view of things that attempts to turn the NIMBY Vs. YIMBY argument completely on its head. Articles with titles, such as: “Madness of Unchecked Growth”; “Nimbys Vs Yimbys Over Endless Development”; “Out-of-Control Yimby Development on Canada’s Shores” have each thrown out a challenge to consider the critical importance of some kind of meaningful Reconciliation between the two main opposing, clashing world views that exist in the world between White European governments and their aboriginal-indigenous peoples.

The basic argument presented is that the Yimby’s are always the ones who will object to allowing in their own backyards what they’re always so readily prepared to dump into someone else’s backyard. Or, if these same Yimby’s happen to receive some windfall or win the lottery they are among the first ones to opt for themselves and their family some bucolic, idyllic setting with the very qualities and aspects they’re so readily prepared to eliminate for untold others. They’re the same ones who are never satisfied with a simpler lifestyle, but instead, whenever they get the chance, opt for, say, an ever-larger mortgage, ever-larger, flashier dwelling and things that make an ever-larger footprint on the earth. It’s what commonly referred to as “Making It!’, or experiencing “The Good Life:, while living out some fantasy, say, while on a luxury European river cruise or South Pacific jaunt on an opulent cruise ship; imagining, for a brief moment, as if they are to be counted among the feted elite and royalty of the world, above and apart of the unwashed masses.

Which Way Will the World eventually Wend? No doubt it will head in the same direction as it always has been, UNTIL….? And so it goes in what appears to be the ever-deteriorating state of the human body, human civilization and Planet Earth in 2018 and beyond

Irwin Jerome: Author’s Bio Note: During the 1960’s and early 70’s Irwin lived with the Dakota and Lakota peoples on the Crow Creek Sioux & Oglala Sioux Reservations in South Dakota and later published the book, “The Wild Gentle Ones; A Turtle island Odyssey” (www.turtle-island-odyssey.com) that documents their historical plight and those of other indigenous peoples on Turtle Island.

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