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Good Capitalists and the Meltdown

Suburbia has brainwashed Americans into being good capitalists, which brought about the economic crisis, according to neo-Marxist economic geographer David Harvey.
July 22, 2010, 11am PDT | Nate Berg
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Fast Company's Greg Lindsay attends a recent discussion with Harvey to hear more about how cities and suburbia helped fuel the meltdown.

"On Tuesday night in Manhattan, Harvey made a rare American appearance to discuss 'experimental geography' and the role cities and suburbia played in the crisis. Starting from the idea of a 'geographic unconscious'--'the way we think of space and time as 'natural' when they're really constructed,'--Harvey blamed suburbia for brainwashing Americans into being good capitalists.

But the connections between urbanism and capitalism go deeper than that. In an essay published in New Left Review, he drew connections between Haussmann's Paris, postwar America, gentrification and China's instant cities. In each case, the construction efforts employed huge quantities of labor and required new forms of capital and credit, whether FHA mortgages or CDOs. In his estimation, China's breakneck urbanization and the appetite for raw materials this creates is the only thing propping global capitalism up."

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Published on Wednesday, July 21, 2010 in Fast Company
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