The Message a City Sends

Paul Graham has a new article titled Cities and Ambition. Concerning why, even in a powerful virtual world, cities will still matter:

The physical world is very high bandwidth, and some of the ways cities send you messages are quite subtle.

He then characterize the messages that several cities send, but refrains from guessing at DC’s because he hasn’t lived here. Since I’m the one sharing the article, I suppose it falls on me.

The best I can come up with is, “How should we wield governmental power?” The government has an excess of decisions to make. People are drawn to here because of all the decisions that are made. They spend their time arguing about the proper way to make them. Lest you think they are too noble, many times it is the pleasure in wielding the decision making power that drives them. But also, lest you think they are only power hungry, they almost always believe that theirs is the correct (in some societal sense) way to wield it.

This applies equally well to the libertarians, liberals, and conservatives. Many believe that the correct decision is to refrain from action. Perhaps in another society, inaction would not need to be decided, but in ours, inaction on the part of government is an action in and of itself.

Perhaps Dan will give his thoughts on the SF side of things.


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