Thursday, December 11, 2014

A debate with D.Harvey and Ed.Glaeser

The team at Caos Planejado (a very good Brazilian blog focused on urban economics) points out to a recent event where David Harvey and Edward Glaeser discussed the 'Economics of the Creative Economy'.

It is certainly not every day that we have this kind of debate. David Harvey is one of the most influential critical geographers with a great academic history and his writings have shaped a lot of the Marxist readings on cities. On the other corner of the ring Edward Glaeser is among the greatest urban economists nowadays and has a brilliant list of publications on a variety of issues related to urban development.

Despite ideological divergences, both are highly qualified scholars. They are also extremely polite, to a point that their disagreements always come in a gentle  sometimes even subtle way. I confess I was expecting some more blood.

My two highlights. Harvey and Glaser disagree on two particular questions that caught my attention: the connection between affordability issues and the idea of successful cities (29'-37'), and their different (normative) understandings of how property should be organized (1:04'-1:08'). Their disagreement on these two topics reflect markedly different positions in political philosophy more generally. More deeply, it shows rather different understandings of what justice means, and what should be the role of governments and markets in the pursuit for justice. 

I will stop here before you fall asleep with this post. Hope you enjoy the video.

ps. Glaser's body language reaction at 1:05' is hilarious.


Fabio Storino said...

Awesome debate. Their goal doesn't seem that different, it just seems that Harvey represents the "romantic" camp, believing in human virtues to do the right thing (i.e., what urbanists usually agree on), while Glaeser is the "pragmatic" one, aware of human flaws and trying to create the right set of incentives in order of good cities to (hopefully) emerge out of it. My 2 cents. said...

Great video!

However it's hard for me to understand Harvey's "philosophical proposal" about Google. If Google is truly a "rentist" would we be better without Google?

Maybe I am too pragmatic and I demand answers to Harvey's criticisms. Maybe his ideas are just it, ideas that don´t need an action.