Waste not, learn not


The history of place is the storyline of power. Karl Marx did not get everything right, but he came pretty close. The bi-polarity of inner-cities and small rural places is a long-term struggle of numbers, and this co-proximity is causing new problems due to the pandemic, which will undoubtedly have unexpected knock-on effects. More people mean the ability to apply more influence, by force if need be, and a greater ability to impose your own values and views of the world, but also highlights some of the absurdities of cities. The initial process of ‘settling down’ on the landscape and commoditising agriculture, produced surpluses, and these excess goods not only enabled trade (or barter) but also led to the stratification of society. Numberless divisions of labour evolved, from those who undertook the tasks that nobody else would do, through the massed ranks of the common labourers, to the artisans with specialist skills, to the organisers, at the top of the pyramid, who managed the process of production and took their overhead fees.

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