Yascha Mounk and James Scott discuss the case for anarchism, the need for a state, and the ongoing crisis in Myanmar.
Many thanks Yascha Mounk and James Scott -- most valuable.
Le Corbusier and many other great innovators including Leonardo da Vinci, Frank Lloyd Wright and Christopher Wren all had a bash at designing the "ideal city" or big chunks of one. The results when built were always pretty much disastrous until eventually reworked by folks on the ground trying to live in them. Your example of Brasillia is a good one along with Canberra in Australia that experienced a particularly high suicide rate shortly after it opened. It's no coincident that many are capital cities where the need for order and status is greater than plain old cities.
The thing is that to totally design a good functioning city is impossible. And, plans attempting this deserve sufficating -- if not, the designer / architect themselves. James Scott talks of "visual order" and it's certainly that and more. The structure of a "natural" city that has grown over a considerable period of time is enormously complex and has a lattice type structure with connections all over the place. It is not a tree structure where the outer branches may as well be completely disconnected from each other. Our human brains, including those of our best architects, can do the tree but not the lattice. I'll give you a small example -- the model of the "utopian" city inevitably has pedestrians and vehicle traffic separated -- it all looks orderly and fantastic. But motorist become pedestrians and pedestrians motorist. How would the taxi driver scan for customers if there is no curb side? How would I buy flowers from my car window for Mother? or give a dollar to a Peddler? The myriads of small systems like these would be tidied away leaving the place and experience disengaging and colorless -- putting it mildly.
Christopher Alexander is a better explainer than I in his essay from 50 years ago "A city is not a tree" http://theoria.art-zoo.com/a-city-is-not-a-tree-christopher-alexander/
"for almost all of human history, one has been dealing with a quite different state whose objective was to extract as much wealth, grain, taxes, and manpower from the population as possible"
Sure, but it is pretty dumb to stop there without asking why exactly states needed to do that. The unaddressed answer being, any state that didn't do that would be (and was) destroyed and subsumed by other states that did. That's why the world has not actually ever had anarchy zones that endured more than briefly since the days of hunting and gathering. Anarchism deserves nothing more than a Bronx cheer, it is stupidity induced by romantic fantasy.
Congratulations on scoring the first point of the May 2021 edition of Fantasy Intellectual Teams. Professor Mounk asks a Devil's Advocate question here ("And so you think that that is, in a way, the more typical form that the state has taken? Do you think that should still inform how we think about even relatively benevolent states like the Danish one now? Or have we managed to overcome that legacy, at least in some parts of the world?") and scores a point for his team (The Tenured Dilettantes). Standings here: http://www.arnoldkling.com/fits/mstandings.html Members of all teams can be found here: http://www.arnoldkling.com/fits/mteams.html