community, future

Envisioning Communities of the Future

So isolated are the various disciplines needed to create a community that we face sclerosis of thought.

Here is a simple and reasonable proposition:

That we create the habitable matrix for communities of 5-10,000 in dwelling areas that would be relatively compact and built around a full services area that would be enturely navigable by foot or automated chair. Such units would be Pueblo-like and rise to perhaps five levels from the ground. They would be connected so that internal walkways could slant from top to bottom to create a gently rising and falling pedestrian promenade. This would be enhanced by prodigal seating along the walkways.

Beneath the community area would be the structures needed to compact and otherwise process all waste onsite. Each such unit would be almost entirely self sufficient. The power would be as eco-proper as possible.

Education would take place in simple computer-cafe environments with resident mentors. Medical issues would be handled by preventative outposts aimed at nipping horrendous conditions in the bud. Cultural options would mandate a comunal performance space apart from the indoor or inside court wohich would be a parklike space of perhaps 400-800 yards in diameter.

The living and other spatial units could be Lego-like with much of the “furniture” structure built into the whole.

I shall not continue. Already this is beyond the capacity of any profession to undertake. And any zoning board to approve.

Where will the operative juice to enable a new stage of construction and community creation to create models for a future in which a human scale is restored, a pedestrian option is natural and an eco-posture that is truly more than window-dressing is built in?

An ancillary principle: The character of common space has a massive effect on the sense of well-being. The economies of the suggested model are sufficient to allow for a lavishing of care on the areas where people will gravitate to.


benign genocide, genocide, politics

Benign or Casual Genocide

Ported and revised.

Benign or casual genocide is a way of describing the largely unprotested (accepted) death of largely-invisible millions in our world.

This is the term I believe Dr. Sachs and others at the forefront of efforts against deep poverty in the world should use. We have thus far failed to shock the “benign billions” into an acceptance even of the one percent GNP solution, which is a minimal response but vastly beyond what we are now doing.


Benign or casual genocide is an honest name for the capitalist-philanthropic system that, in a macabre dance of mutuality, allows these terrible deaths to take place year after year.

Let the definitions be plain and simple.

By capitalist I mean to embrace the entire realm of business conducted for economic gain. The entire culture of consumer desire. The entire tendency of the world to accept this on its face as the “way things are” economically. The issue I wish to press is not guilt but truth. A true description.

Linked to this is the civilization-destroying growth of gaps between rich and middle class and down (economically) in the rich or privileged parts of the world, creating a culture of acquisition based on an acceptance of predatory principles.

By philanthropic I mean the entire complex of “not for profit” enterprises, ranging from movements and non-governmental organizations to institutions of learning to explicit “charities”, to many government agencies whose purposes are (presented as) eleemosynary. Education, health, so forth.

My contention is that we can call this partnership the engine of Benign or Casual Genocide.

Globally, it represents a failure of mammoth proportions. It need not be. At its heart lies a spiritual failure of nerve and apparent ignorance, even among our most sophisticated media, of this failure.

I am not ignoring the cries of those in media who do understand. I am lamenting the naive belief that anything less than a sea-change of global consciousness will have a remedial effect.

We casually read myriad death statistics and projections. Each year UNICEF and other agencies — ambivalent partners in this promenade — inundate us with these figures.

Even Presidents quote UNICEF.

It is a dance of hypocrisy and idiocy, given the resistance of peoples to a revaluation of the values by which we live. Proper development requires such a revaluation and it is profoundly in eddor to believe anything less.

Essentially, the world system we now have, largely uncontested, accepts Capitalism as the big engine to fuel an unequal wealth/power machine and Philanthropy as the little engine that will toot along and clean up the uglier evidences of a world where wealth, power and place continue to rule under the umbrella of hypocrisies that have been transmuted into simple “realism”.

We need to openly identify the partnership and observe that it does not work. We need to say what the solution is: The very leaders who most understand the problem need to admit that we are engaged in benign and casual genocide. We need to remove the emperor’s clothes. Until this occurs, the the great poverty experts are simply rubbing salt into the world’s gaping wounds.


The truth of the wholesale destruction of millions (dare we add the words women and children?) is currently left to marginalized observers who are never taken seriously by media, governments or the philanthropic-educational community.

Or, even worse, the truth is the province of house prophets in these institutions who deliver ritual Jeremiads to salve conscience as nothing continues to get done.


The name for the hegemony of Capitalism and Philanthropy is benign or casual genocide. We all contribute to this. We are all players on the stage of this sordid and terminally dehumanizing reality. The sooner we acknowledge what we are doing to the point that it convicts governments and media and mobilizes international leadership for a round of hopefully efficacious response, the better.

This is not about yelling louder. It is about saying the present system does not work.