So, by way of a thought experiment: what if London is about to peak? The reason would be the way housing provision and housing regulation had destroyed the economic balance of the city, and there are some serious warning signs. Recently, there’s also been a wave of commentary on this. But first, let’s just roll back to the ’70s.
I had the opportunity earlier this month to hear the American academic George Lakoff talk, at a TUC event on the future of welfare. Lakoff, who’s at the University of Berkeley in California, has studied how we shape and understand our political views, and he’s probably best known here for his short book Don’t Think of An Elephant. (The minute you start trying not to think about it, you’re thinking about it, which I’ll come back to later).
He’s not a typical academic: almost the first thing he told us was that neither of his parents went to high school (secondary school).
Anyway, the most important thing to know about his work is that it’s based on neuroscience and that once you have heard him explain it, this changes the way you think about political language and political discourse.
It’s well past cliche to commend Johannes Gutenberg for his invention of the printing press, but it was only when I read Just My Type, by Simon Garfield, that I realised how inventive he had been. As the management theorist Peter Drucker once said, innovation is about building a whole new system, not just having a single good idea. As Garfield observes, “Gutenberg’s vision concerned automation, consistency, and recycling.” He set the mould for printing technology for almost 500 years – a long time for a technology innovation to remain dominant, and he was the first person in Europe to use mass production. (more…)