Saturday, May 4, 2013

Jane's Walk

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For whatever reason people like to associate persons, places or things with certain days of the year. The first weekend in May, for example, is Jane's Walk – a celebratory stroll around your community as if you were a tourist. Jane's Walk is named after Jane Jacobs, an urban theorist and writer.

Jane's Walk is a product of Tides Canada, the people behind Occupy Wall Street and the anti-capitalist AdBusters magazine. The federal minister of natural resources has accused Tides of taking, “funding from foreign special interest groups to undermine Canada's national economic interest.” And this appears to be true: George Soros gave Tides Center $3.5 million, who then gave AdBusters $185,000. Not long after AdBusters and Occupy Wall Street started promoting the “robin hood tax,” a tax that benefits position traders like Soros. Conspiracy or not – Tides Center and the affiliated Tides Canada are fascist think-tanks that strive to influence public opinion. They promote the merger of government and corporate power while limiting the spectrum of civil discourse.

Tides Canada is against everything Jane Jacobs stood for. The ideas she brings forth in her writings reveal a society fundamentally at odds with the status quo. This is evident in her 20-year-long battle with NYC central planner, Robert Moses. It's likely that a vast majority of people out on their Jane's Walk have never actually read any of her work. And if they have, they probably didn't understand much of it. Jacobs is incredibly thorough. Her ideas are profoundly simple once realized, but complex en route.

Jane Jacobs is the libertarian outsider. She developed a theory of human action through the eyes of a city as the centre of civilization. Her method was highly inductive and conjectural – but self-evident when one examines city life for oneself. Her method contrasts with the Austrian school but both come to the same conclusion: economic progress rests on individuals cooperating, trading and diversifying goods.

One who is well-versed in praxeology will probably understand TheNature of Economies on a deeper level than one who isn't. Jane's Walk participants may advocate the subsidized housing ideas from TheDeath and Life of Great American Cities. But only those fluent in the Austrian school will understand that these ideas can only work if conducted by competitive organizations collecting payment voluntarily (that is, private enterprise). Jane Jacobs may have been ignorant of Austrian economics but in her writings the role of the entrepreneur is incalculable. She may have never subscribed to libertarian ethics, but as Riggenbach has pointed out, her world-view is undeniably libertarian.

Jane Jacobs legacy isn't found in Tides Canada activity propaganda. It is found buried in the pages of her works. Don't go for a Jane's Walk – stay home and read Jane's books.

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