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What Capitalism Does to Cities

Capitalism is good in incentivising corporations and money to leave cities and leave them to rot: moving where labour and other costs are cheaper is made easier by various measures that enable this inhale, exhale. Money moves swifly, breathes, but also inhales vacuuming air out of towns and cities. I know that from a personal experience, having grown up next to paper factories in Southern Finland: now places are abandoned, towns shrinking and trying to invent new business models to sustain jobs and life there.

Capitalism however destroys cities also by staying there: breathing “life” into cities is often a process of destruction of other sorts. It pushes the limits of endurance of ecology, animals and humans.

This example is about Istanbul, describing the booming construction industry of the city that is still imagined as one of the major economic centres of the future: “the damage now being done to Istanbul rivals the damage done to Constantinople by the Fourth Crusade. The so-called Latin invaders of 1202 looted Byzantium in the name of religion; today the city is being pillaged in the name of progress and profit.”

Read the full piece “Destroying Istanbul” by Andrew Finkel here.

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Categories: Istanbul
  1. July 24, 2013 at 1:29 am

    What u describe is a deterritorialization/reterritorialization capitalism process related to the “two dimensions” of capitalism: as a mode of production (Marx) and as a phase of development (Gramsci). En each phase of developmente there is “spatialized State mode” which “enables” the capitalism accumulation process. In the new phase known as knowledge capitalism there are many deterritorialization process around the world, such as in Detroit, now in crisis and reterritorialization process too, such as in Silicon Valley, the new core of knowledge and innovation. I write about it in my last post.

  2. July 24, 2013 at 1:30 am

    Reblogueó esto en CiberDodoy comentado:
    What u describe is a deterritorialization/reterritorialization capitalism process related to the “two dimensions” of capitalism: as a mode of production (Marx) and as a phase of development (Gramsci). En each phase of developmente there is “spatialized State mode” which “enables” the capitalism accumulation process. In the new phase known as knowledge capitalism there are many deterritorialization process around the world, such as in Detroit, now in crisis and reterritorialization process too, such as in Silicon Valley, the new core of knowledge and innovation. I write about it in my last post.

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