Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat agrees with Mayor Bruce Harrell. The "crime wave" is finally breaking. And, as a consequence, new stores are opening in the downtown area, a Christmas star shines again on the facade of Macy's former building, the McDonald’s on Pine has "finally emerged from its hardened plywood shell." Westneat describes the criminal activity that dominated Third and Pine as "a scene from a medieval back alley, playing out in the heart of a modern city."
There was no need for Westneat to go back as far as the Dark Ages to find his nightmarish image of the criminal activity that ruled Third and Pine. He could have just gone back to Seattle's Depression-era Hooverville. Or could have just mentioned scenes from the 1984 documentary Streetwise. That said, Westneat's reading of the downtown situation is actually right.
I've been downtown many times in recent months and it's seemed almost back to pre-pandemic levels of activity in the shopping core. Crime fears aren't what cause office workers to want to stay remote — they just prefer the flexibility. https://t.co/sdDXJ7yYCV— Robert Cruickshank (@cruickshank) November 30, 2022
I chose to use the word "actually" because it's in the family of the word "act." Business confidence is an emotional (indeed spiritually animal) state that, in our young culture, is vital. It leads to the only process by which an economy grows: continuous investments.
As the greatest economist of the 20th century, the Pole Michał Kalecki, put it: "...workers spend what they get and the capitalists get what they spend." That is the whole business made as plain as possible. Workers get to spend on what is deemed culturally necessary only if capitalist investments do not go belly up, only if they return as more money. De-link the latter from the former, and you have a depression, a Hooverville, crime waves. The strong and consistently successful resistance to social welfare has this, as a cultural formation (how you spend), as its key explanation.
In this economic space, which is now worldwide, Westneat's reading of the developments on Third and Pine and downtown in general can only be right, and ring of nothing but good news. And how can you disagree with Mayor Bruce Harrell's sweeps and increased spending on our city's bloated policing apparatus? Right and wrong are not eternal, but culturally constructed, historically specific. The alleys of a medieval city or town were not capitalist. Spending in those times was not at all structured like ours. But Westneat has to make this crude comparison because, being on the right (good, positive) side of history, he must make the criminal feeling its opposite: transhistorical. It was there in the alleys of plague-riddled Bologna. It was there on 21st century Pine and Third. These are just bad people all around, all through history.
Meaning, morality and activity are historically (rather than eternally) determined. If you are on the left, you have to be wrong, every time. Why? Because the logic of sensible (or what appears as rational) distribution of the monetized social product can only break down when expressed in a cultural space that's organized by the two dominant modes of spending. The left will never win this game. Ever. One only has to look at the big business story of yesterday, November 30, to see the truth of this. The US's GDP actually grew by 2.8% in the last quarter, and this was celebrated by Dems as evidence of Biden's boom.
U.S. grew 2.9% in third quarter, GDP shows, and there’s little sign of recession for now https://t.co/ynTDtxF7tX— MarketWatch (@MarketWatch) November 30, 2022
Dark Brandon revised GDP upwards. https://t.co/jtesUHevc9— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) November 30, 2022
Westneat is in this culture, one that rewards Dems (the US's labor party) if capitalists are making larger and larger investments (the source of their spending), actually rational. Socialists are the irrational ones. The culture where leftist rationality—which is, to be sure, closer to human sociobiologically—rules does not exist in our day. But what this only tells us is what the Frankfurt School already knew: Reason changes from historical context to historical context. Sweeps are more rational than social housing.