Thoughts on economics and liberty

Was Jane Jacobs a force for the good or for evil?

I showed here how John Ruskin exercised a baneful influence on liberty in the 19th century – particularly on urban landscapes.

Jane Jacobs was a similarly influential figure in the 20th century.

“For contemporary architects, civic planners and city dwellers, Jacobs’ book is a foundational text of humane urban planning. Her ideas, considered radical when the book was published in 1961, are now settled thought.”

I was keenly interested in this article: How Should We Interpret Jane Jacobs? published yesterday, which argues that Jane was a good influence, after all.

“We should interpret Jane Jacobs as a spontaneous order theorist in the tradition of Adam Smith, Michael Polanyi, and F.A. Hayek. Built into her work is a profound appreciation of the importance of local knowledge, decentralized planning, and the spontaneous orders that structure urban life.”

“Jacobs found the wellspring of economic health in cities as a constant bubbling forth of ideas.”

I’m not quite sure, yet – and will need to study this issue more carefully and personally. I’m informed that we find “an appreciation of spontaneous orders (set out explicitly in the opening and closing chapters of The Death and Life of Great American Cities)” – full PDF here.

This is a placeholder post and I’ll add my views after I’ve reviewed the first and last chapters of her book.

Slideshow on Jane Jacob’s views.

On Mises Institute: Jane Jacobs, The Anti-Planner

“Despite her occasional advocacy of government intervention, there is a very strong libertarian tendency in Jacobs’ writings, even if she steadfastly refuses to be labeled. “


See my posts here and here.

Sanjeev Sabhlok

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