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"The Breakdown of Nations"

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"The Breakdown of Nations"

Old 11-10-19, 11:14 AM
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"The Breakdown of Nations"

An excerpt on quality of life from Leopold Kohr's ”The Breakdown of Nations"

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Old 11-10-19, 05:13 PM
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Old 11-10-19, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
An excerpt on quality of life from Leopold Kohr's ”The Breakdown of Nations"

Frankly, this was IMO a lazyman's post...a picture of a text of an excessively long paragraph that would have to be re-typed in order to excerpt portions to agree or refute various points; and then posted without commentary.

Anyways, I probably live such a seemingly limited lifestyle, considered restrictive by many.

The good:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I often tout Boston as the epitome of LCF/LCL in America, not to brag, but illustrate the possibilities. When I take visitors on a 4-5 mile walking tour of downtown Boston, I introduce it with this explanation:

Several years ago, the architectural critic of the Boston Globe, Robert Campbell, was visiting Southfield, Michigan, a town I know well, and described it as the City of Towers and Cars (including “busy highways and vast parking lots" [and tall office buildings, and sprawling office and retail parks]).

In his article, he contrasted that that to the City of Outdoor Rooms (Boston) which is visited as one would visit a person’s home, passing through the various portals, from room to room, admiring the furnishings within.


That’s the motif I use on my tours as we start in the Back Bay, and pass through the Public Garden, Boston Common, Washington St and Quincy Market, the North End, Beacon Hill and back to Back Bay. The walk becomes the destination.
The "bad":
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...By choice I haven’t flown since 1988, and fortunately I can pleasantly live my life within 1,000 miles of Boston, by car, train and bike [or more down the East Coast to Florida].

Airline travel seem so harassing that I don’t miss it, and the other modalities allow me to transport more, including the assembled bike [in car], to make the trip more enjoyable, and more at my convenience.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...In any case, though,

Regarding travel, In retirement, I could extend my perimeter.
Nonetheless perhaps the OP could explain how modern transportation modalities have led to the "breakdown of nations." My take on the conclusion of the piece is well-expressed by the Introduction to the Road Cycling Forum
Originally Posted by Ernest Hemingway
“It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.”

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 11-10-19 at 08:23 PM.
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Old 11-11-19, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Frankly, this was IMO a lazyman's post...a picture of a text of an excessively long paragraph that would have to be re-typed in order to excerpt portions to agree or refute various points; and then posted without commentary.
In the future you can amuse yourself, by copying pictures of text that are posted on BF, and paste the picture into Acrobat or some other program that can perform OCR and extract the text content and post more so-called commentary, no retyping necessary.
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Old 11-11-19, 06:02 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
In the future you can amuse yourself, by copying pictures of text that are posted on BF, and paste the picture into Acrobat or some other program that can perform OCR and extract the text content and post more so-called commentary, no retyping necessary.
Thanks for the tip; I was not familiar, did not even know what OCR (Optical Character Recognition) is, though not necessary to quote in Bike Forums.

I've already posted my comments about the OP... Yours? @Digger Goreman was left "speechless.
Originally Posted by Digger Goreman View Post

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 11-11-19 at 06:13 AM. Reason: added quote by Digger Goreman
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Old 11-11-19, 06:32 AM
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Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
An excerpt on quality of life from Leopold Kohr's ”The Breakdown of Nations"

True, dat.

Likewise, paved roads destroyed it all.
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Old 11-11-19, 07:10 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I've already posted my comments about the OP... Yours? @Digger Goreman was left "speechless.
The pasted Article is Moon Child pap, suitable for mindless OT P&R ranting on LCF, nothing else.
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Old 11-11-19, 07:43 AM
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Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
An excerpt on quality of life from Leopold Kohr's ”The Breakdown of Nations"
Originally Posted by BookFinder View Post
True, dat.

Likewise, paved roads destroyed it all.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...perhaps the OP could explain how modern transportation modalities have led to the "breakdown of nations."

My take on the conclusion of the piece is well-expressed by the Introduction to the Road Cycling Forum...
Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
The pasted Article is Moon Child pap, suitable for mindless OT P&R ranting on LCF, nothing else.
And yet the League of American (then known as) Wheelman agitated for paved roads in the late 19th Century.

From the Website https://www.bikeleague.org/content/mission-and-history
Originally Posted by League of American Bicyclists: Mission and History:
The League was founded as the League of American Wheelmen in 1880. Bicyclists, known then as “wheelmen,” were challenged by rutted roads of gravel and dirt and faced antagonism from horsemen, wagon drivers, and pedestrians.

In an effort to improve riding conditions so they might better enjoy their newly discovered sport, more than 100,000 cyclists from across the United States joined the League to advocate for paved roads. The success of the League in its first advocacy efforts ultimately led to our national highway system.
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Old 11-11-19, 08:56 AM
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Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
The pasted Article is Moon Child pap, suitable for mindless OT P&R ranting on LCF, nothing else.
Now that's what I call a Pap Smear!
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Old 11-11-19, 09:13 AM
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We've all experienced what the author has expressed; you notice the surroundings as you ride a bike much more than if by car. Small stuff by the side of the road? A tiny obscure door that led into a small yet cool shop you never knew was there but has been for years? Conversations with those waiting at the bus stop for a bus that is always late? Experienced!
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Old 11-11-19, 10:01 AM
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"The Breakdown of Nations"
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...perhaps the OP could explain how modern transportation modalities have led to the "breakdown of nations."

My take on the conclusion of the piece is well-expressed by the Introduction to the Road Cycling Forum...
Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
We've all experienced what the author has expressed; you notice the surroundings as you ride a bike much more than if by car.

Small stuff by the side of the road? A tiny obscure door that led into a small yet cool shop you never knew was there but has been for years? Conversations with those waiting at the bus stop for a bus that is always late?

Experienced!
Those comments are indeed IMO, in agreement with the posted text...not IMO with the “Breakdown of Nations.

I have posted about my seemingly trivial but interesting observations while riding:
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I'm very motivated by novelty, and stymied by boredom on a bike, but I do have the motivation of commuting to work.

I have found that when I drive my frequent, decades-old routes I often notice things I had not seen before. I think it’s because I can look around at more than just the road surface when driving.

So when the commute [route] is getting too familiar, I just raise my head higher and look over a wider field of view….
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
A local BF subscriber @rholland1951 who contributes hundreds of photographs to the local Metro Boston thread from the same 11-mile long MUP he rides, once commented something like that "just the lighting / time of day / day of the year makes the ride “different.”

So too does the direction, one way, or the reverse.
Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
“The Same "Different"; But Even More So...”

For me, just about every commute to or from work requires stopping somewhere either for stuff relating to the house renovation, meeting someone, shopping for the evening, something relating to the child or a drink after work.

I enjoy interacting with the same routes at different times in different directions. Have a nearly-car-free lifestyle is great in many ways, including how one interacts with their urban environment.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
…Appropos of this comment, for the past few years after doing training rides all around [Metro Boston], I have thought this about these long rides.

Whereas inhabitants of neighborhoods know their areas as an entirety, I know them as routes with peculiar things I note as landmarks.

It becomes very satisfying when I ride a new route and it suddenly intercepts a familiar route in the same neighborhood, and that neigborhood now becomes more of an entirety to me too.

Often when I meet someone new, I ask them where they live because invariably I’ve ridden through their neighborhood, and that question spurs a lively conversation.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 11-11-19 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 11-12-19, 08:41 AM
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Hi Jim, I haven't read the book... yet. (I have about 1500 books on my hard drive to go through). By "Breakdown" the author means planned re-organization, not destruction. From the book jacket synopsis we read:

" In The Breakdown of Nations Leopold Kohr shows that, throughout history, people living in small states are happier, more peaceful, more creative and more prosperous. Virtually all our political and social problems would be greatly diminished if the world’s major countries were to dissolve back into the small states from which they sprang. Rather than making ever-larger political unions, in the belief that this will bring peace and security, we should minimize the aggregation of power by returning to a patchwork of small, relatively powerless states, where leaders are accessible to and responsive to the people. "
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Old 11-12-19, 08:07 PM
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I don't believe that's actually true.
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Old 11-13-19, 08:04 AM
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Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
We've all experienced what the author has expressed; you notice the surroundings as you ride a bike much more than if by car. Small stuff by the side of the road? A tiny obscure door that led into a small yet cool shop you never knew was there but has been for years? Conversations with those waiting at the bus stop for a bus that is always late? Experienced!
Same goes for when I'm a passenger in a car or in public transit. I don't have to spend my time looking at the road or traffic conditions.
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Old 11-13-19, 08:24 AM
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Originally Posted by FiftySix View Post
Same goes for when I'm a passenger in a car or in public transit. I don't have to spend my time looking at the road or traffic conditions.
Just recently on this thread I posted,
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
I'm very motivated by novelty, and stymied by boredom on a bike, but I do have the motivation of commuting to work.

I have found that when I drive my frequent, decades-old routes I often notice things I had not seen before. I think it’s because I can look around at more than just the road surface when driving.

So when the commute [route] is getting too familiar, I just raise my head higher and look over a wider field of view….
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Old 11-13-19, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
Hi Jim, I haven't read the book... yet. (I have about 1500 books on my hard drive to go through). By "Breakdown" the author means planned re-organization, not destruction. From the book jacket synopsis we read:

" In The Breakdown of Nations Leopold Kohr shows that, throughout history, people living in small states are happier, more peaceful, more creative and more prosperous. Virtually all our political and social problems would be greatly diminished if the world’s major countries were to dissolve back into the small states from which they sprang. Rather than making ever-larger political unions, in the belief that this will bring peace and security, we should minimize the aggregation of power by returning to a patchwork of small, relatively powerless states, where leaders are accessible to and responsive to the people."
Thanks for the reply. This variation of "Small is Beautiful" sounds like the feudal system of the Middle Ages, that arose during the Dark Ages after the Fall of the big, bad Roman Empire...maybe a post-apocalyptic "Mad Max" scenario.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 11-13-19 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 11-13-19, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Thanks for the reply. This variation of "Small is Beautiful" sounds like the feudal system of the Middle Ages, that arose during the Dark Ages after the Fall of the big, bad Roman Empire...maybe a post-apocalyptic "Mad Max" scenario.
I was thinking the same thing about ancient nation states. Then there was the unification of Germany and the unification of Italy in the 1800s, too.

Mad Max is about right, or The Walking Dead. The population of the world would have to be cut drastically to go back to nation states, IMO.

Now, maybe moving to a small country in today's world would achieve the desired effect?
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Old 11-14-19, 09:59 AM
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I think what the author is suggesting is keeping cities at a "human scale". Duplication of cities so there are more of them rather than continually expanding megacities with endless suburbs; making city streets for bike and pedestrian traffic rather than for the automobile. Not a return to the hovels of the dark ages.
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Old 11-15-19, 05:04 AM
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Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
I think what the author is suggesting is keeping cities at a "human scale". Duplication of cities so there are more of them rather than continually expanding megacities with endless suburbs; making city streets for bike and pedestrian traffic rather than for the automobile. Not a return to the hovels of the dark ages.
Unlikely to anticipate the breakup of cities, without some kind of catastrophe.

Here in Metro Boston is a pleasant prosperous suburb of Newton, "The Garden City." It was formed in the late 19th-20th Century as a coalescence of several villages, some centered on trolley line stops, and each neighbor hood is distinctive.
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Rather than having a single city center, Newton is a patchwork of thirteen villages, many boasting small downtown areas of their own…

Although most of the villages have a post office, they have no legal definition and no firmly defined borders. This village-based system often causes some confusion with addresses and for first time visitors.
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Old 11-15-19, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Unlikely to anticipate the breakup of cities, without some kind of catastrophe.


Here in Metro Boston is a pleasant prosperous suburb of Newton, "The Garden City." It was formed in the late 19th-20th Century as a coalescence of several villages, some centered on trolley line stops, and each neighbor hood is distinctive.

Reading Kohr it is clear he prefers to be called an anarchist so society means little in general. Saying he believes City states like early Greece would be peaceful because they didn't have power ignores that they were not all that peaceful as are tribe like communities in Africa or Afghanistan. What is human scale to 8 billion people? How about 10 Billion? Yes it might be nice if we lived in a world where we could be almost hunter gatherers or maybe Hobbits?


Still I don't see how dissolving central governments will benefit anyone any where advocating a car free or car light lifestyle. Maybe I should have just let it slide but the whole OP sounded like a Political science class. Just My opinion
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Old 11-15-19, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
Maybe I should have just let it slide but the whole OP sounded like a Political science class. Just My opinion
Similar to my opinion posted at "The Breakdown of Nations"
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Old 11-16-19, 01:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Unlikely to anticipate the breakup of cities, without some kind of catastrophe.
We're facing a future catastrophe right now, unless we change our ways. Thus far, we're still just making the problem worse. The business-as-usual scenarios are genuine, science-fiction-bad catastrophes, over a span of decades. We have to change some things, either by our own choice or because the physical world imposes it on us. Will it cause cities to break up? Some of them, maybe?
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Old 11-17-19, 08:00 AM
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"The Breakdown of Nations"
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
This variation of "Small is Beautiful" sounds like the feudal system of the Middle Ages, that arose during the Dark Ages after the Fall of the big, bad Roman Empire...maybe a post-apocalyptic "Mad Max" scenario.
Originally Posted by prairiepedaler View Post
I think what the author is suggesting is keeping cities at a "human scale".

Duplication of cities so there are more of them rather than continually expanding megacities with endless suburbs; making city streets for bike and pedestrian traffic rather than for the automobile. Not a return to the hovels of the dark ages.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
Unlikely to anticipate the breakup of cities, without some kind of catastrophe.
Originally Posted by Mobile 155 View Post
Reading Kohr it is clear he prefers to be called an anarchist so society means little in general. Saying he believes City states like early Greece would be peaceful because they didn't have power ignores that they were not all that peaceful as are tribe like communities in Africa or Afghanistan.

What is human scale to 8 billion people? How about 10 Billion? Yes it might be nice if we lived in a world where we could be almost hunter gatherers or maybe Hobbits?

Still I don't see how dissolving central governments will benefit anyone any where advocating a car free or car light lifestyle. Maybe I should have just let it slide but the whole OP sounded like a Political science class. Just My opinion
Originally Posted by rseeker View Post
We're facing a future catastrophe right now, unless we change our ways. Thus far, we're still just making the problem worse.

The business-as-usual scenarios are genuine, science-fiction-bad catastrophes, over a span of decades. We have to change some things, either by our own choice or because the physical world imposes it on us. Will it cause cities to break up? Some of them, maybe?
Perhaps as an example of a slow-moving catastrophe is my Hometown of Detroit, MI which has been de-populating over the past few years, leaving a less-traveled infrastructure in the City Proper, though most of the outer suburbs have the typical sprawl, in contrast to the more pedestrian-oriented cities of the Northeast.
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
If you are willing to travel Detroit Proper has been touted as having a good cycling infrastructure, wide roads with diminished traffic. See this thread, “Riding through Detroit.”
Originally Posted by Jim from Boston View Post
...Several years ago, the architectural critic of the Boston Globe, Robert Campbell, was visiting Southfield, Michigan, a town I know well, and described it as the City of Towers and Cars (including “busy highways and vast parking lots" [and tall office buildings, and sprawling office and retail parks]).

In his article, he contrasted that to the City of Outdoor Rooms (Boston) which is visited as one would visit a person’s home, passing through the various portals, from room to room, admiring the furnishings within.

That’s the motif I use on my tours as we start in the Back Bay, and pass through the Public Garden, Boston Common, Washington St and Quincy Market, the North End, Beacon Hill and back to Back Bay.

The walk becomes the destination.

Last edited by Jim from Boston; 11-17-19 at 08:05 AM.
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Old 12-28-19, 05:42 PM
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I'm not so sure that any particular level of population, whether very large or much smaller, is automatically necessary for a livable community. For myself, I prefer a small community but there are great advantages of large cities such as museums and concerts or medical care. At the same time, some cities are disasters such as Mumbai and Mexico City. Then again, Paris is said to be a beautiful city. So perhaps the difference is the attitude of the people who live there and whether they care and work toward the community, large or small.

I'm generally skeptical of binary choices where the choices are all one thing or the other.
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Old 12-29-19, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by rseeker View Post
we're facing a future catastrophe right now, unless we change our ways. Thus far, we're still just making the problem worse. The business-as-usual scenarios are genuine, science-fiction-bad catastrophes, over a span of decades. We have to change some things, either by our own choice or because the physical world imposes it on us. Will it cause cities to break up? Some of them, maybe?
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