Molotch and Vicari

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Political Science
Political Science 3364F/G
Timothy Cobban

THREE WAYS TO BUILD: THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS IN THE US – Molotch and Vicari  National government, linked to conglomerate firms, plays a significant role in Japanese development. In Italy, the national political party system (as opposed to government) is prominent in setting the conditions of local development PLACE ENTREPENEURS  For the US, we take the ‘growth machine’ model as descriptive of how the urban system operates  For Italy our primary resource is the coauthors analysis of mass transit in Milan  Caution must be exercised given the obvious imbalance between the large evidentiary base from US studies and the more limited materials on growth machine dynamics from Japan and Italy THE US GROWTH MACHINES AT WORK  The US is unusual in the degree to which regulation of property development is weak and decentralized  US is still extreme in the freedom allowed entrepreneurs to manipulate the environment for profit  Weak regulation combined with local autonomy makes each property owner a potential speculator whose investment return depends on decisions made by local government  Such investors are betting not on their skills but rather on their capacity as politically skilled actors to alter the spatial structure of the city  Structural speculation is the everyday energy source of both local politics and the property development process  A city’s property entrepreneurs have contrary goals vis a vis the distribution of growth resources within their urban area, they stand to profit in common if their locality as a whole undergoes more intensive use  The growth elite attempts to mobilize virtually every local civic and political institution  Capitalists whose interests are in production not in rent collection or property dynamics  Thus nonlocal representatives of cosmopolitan capital are less active in local political and civic affairs than the parochial elites whose fortunes are more closely tied to the home ground  The politician thus share their benefactors desire to make the locality into a good business climate that can attract capital  The site needs of cosmopolitan capital are thus met through the competition of local elites  National government is generally passive regarding urban policy  There is no national urban planning unit of the federal government, and there are no national priorities for the distribution of development. This vacuum at the governmental top sustains the hegemony of the parochial-based growth machine system  The result is the distribution of land uses across and within places without government planning, overall political guidance or collective corporate determination JAPAN: NATIONAL CORPORAIST HEGEMONY  In order to effectively advance a city plan, it is necessary to accede to landowners established interests and to go along with their expectations for future gains  Government counts for more in Japan  Elements of the prewar centralized authoritarianism persist  Local governments fiscal situation reflects and sustains the compromised nature of the devolution of governmental authority  Government has done relatively little until recent years to restrain rampant unplanned growth there has been extensive precedent for national intervention in local land use  The central ministries have also been heavily involved in establishing development zones and promulgating policies on farmlands  The National Land Use planning Act covers nearly the entire expanse of national land  A third component of the Japanese Ruling Triumvirate is the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) which as remained in power at the national level since WW2  Big business continuously feeds financial contributions into the party’s coffers which are used not for running campaigns but for patronage distribution  At Oita local elites played a less consistent and more deferential role than would be expected from the US experience  The local business position on the project went through three stages. An initial attack of enthusiasm was due to a sort of development  In a second stage – local business became enthusiastic  In a final stage local business became badly split over growth with owners of smaller businesses even becoming strident in their opposition  Many joined ranks with local environmentalists in protest against further industrial expansion at Oita  Increasing local tax receipts might compensate for the cities get caught in an infrastructural trap – with still more growth being the only apparent way out  Japanese national policy and programs are supposed to anticipate, in at least a broad sort of way, the land and infrastructure needs of firms  And through routine movement of government officials to the top rungs of corporate hierarchies when their state service has been completed  The very crea
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