Sunday, January 20, 2008

Jane Jacobs a Libertarian?

Was Jane Jacobs a libertarian? Some libertarian groups say she was and that Jacobs staunch supporters on the left have ignored, what was supposedly her central message: planning ruins cities, and cannot succeed. Or are libertarians confusing her ideas, which fall closer into the realm of syndicalism or rationalist libertarian socialism (was she familiar with chomsky in the latter part of her life?). This would explain Jacob's distaste for big government control and abuse of cities, particularly her dislike of state and/or regional planning and economic development. These characteristics are strongly shown in her first three books: The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Economy of Cities, and Cities and the Wealth of Nations.

2 Comments:

At January 22, 2008 at 10:32 AM , Blogger Stephen Rees said...

No, Jane Jacobs thought for herself. The biography of her that I reveiwed on my blog makes it clear that she did not follow any political philosophy. He upbringing and background were from the tradition of independent thought and expression - she was a representation of the ideal of "liberty" but was not a dcotrinaire anything let alone "libertarian". She was against governments doing foolish things - not against government per se.

 
At January 22, 2008 at 7:17 PM , Blogger Mr. sustainibertarian said...

That's true, i've heard that she didnt classify herself into any political doctrine. I had factoreed out the possibility of her being a libertarian. Nevertheless, at least from her wrightings in The Death and Life, her idea of districts being the main/important governing unit struck a similar chord (at least re my minimal knowledge of syndicalism or for exampe ParEcon ). But, yes it is probably difficult and unfair/unwarranted to try to label her views under a certain political philosophy, but i thought i'd give it a shot :)

Here's an odd little interview if you havent come across it before Reason
they throw in a lot of leading statements, trying to get Jacobs to agree with their political philosphy, which can be a little obnoxious.

 

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