All you need to know right now is that Japan's exports declined again in July - and they're now down 36.5% from last year.
Imports are down about a quarter, and exports to Europe are down around 45%.
If the export collapse hasn't been felt yet, that's because production - not just in Japan, but around the world - is largely automated. But the New York Times has reported on "unemployed robots" in Japan, idled in factories or junked. Eventually the collapse in world trade will catch up to us.
Of course, it is only one of the aftershocks of the collapse of the World Trade Center.
America is interesting because it is an essentially totalitarian infrastructure in which freedom has grown organically and spontaneously and continually rejuvenates itself - like a plant poking through concrete.
The funniest story about the garden city is the building of Gorky. Supposed to be the model socialist city to crown Stalin's Five Year Plan, construction was contracted out to "the premier industrial builder in America, the Austin Company of Cleveland, Ohio." Rejecting Soviet architects' Futurist blueprints as unworkable, but baffled at how to accommodate Communists, the Austin Company simply drew up a garden city along American lines.
Incidentally, Stalin's Five Year Plan was practically run by the "foremost American architect of the first half of the 20th century," Albert Kahn, also known as the "builder of Detroit" and "Henry Ford's architect."
Also incidentally - Magnitogorsk, intended to be the Soviet's largest steelworks and indeed one of the grandest in the world, was planned by none other than Weimar German architects (members of Ernst May's "Red Brigade," a leftist faction of Bauhaus) and American engineers who together lived ensconced in a verdant suburb outside Magnitogorsk called "the American City." The suburb had been copied from an American architectural catalogue, and Magnitogorsk itself was based on the model of Gary, Indiana. At night, in the "American City," jazz escaped from the manors and drifted away with the wind on the barren steppes.
Voltaire, rapturous over the Quaker achievement, wittily and perceptively wrote that the Shackamaxon treaty was "the only treaty between Indians and Christians that was never sworn to and that was never broken." Voltaire went on to say that for the Indians "it was truly a new sight to see a sovereign [William Penn] to whom everyone said 'thou' and to whom one spoke with one's hat on one's head; a government without priests, a people without arms, citizens as equal as the magistrate, and neighbors without jealousy." Other features of the Assembly's early laws were Puritanical acts barring dramas, drunkenness, etc.
The Californian frontier, as the endmost of Western civilization, was the actual birthplace of Nazism, not to mention of car culture, the oil complex, and the Saud-American relationship. You can witness this in the eugenics movement, pioneered in California, and In There Will Be Blood, with its sinister nexus of cult religion and oil. This is to say nothing of Hollywood, the cult religion.
It's not that I want the "recovery" to fail; it's that all this optimism and market-pumping is unreal, and it's an excuse to avoid growing problems. We'll give trillions of dollars to the banks at the same time that we close schools in Detroit and let the city run low on food. What food there is in the grocery stores will be guarded by armed men in combat fatigues.
I'd like to underscore that in the midst of two wars and an economic crisis, America's disaster zones on the fringe (the old industrial heartland, the Motor City, New Orleans) have become suburbs of Iraq.
I'd like to point out that North Korea's architecture looks much like America's, only grayer. Modernist apartment blocks are a motif common to "capitalism" and "communism." North Korea's premier hotel even has a revolving restaurant on top. It doesn't get more modernist than that.
Where did the utopian sparkle go? The Diamond Building, a cubist glass triangle building down the street, a Bauhaus space ship that flew here from Weimar Germany and landed next to Pizza Hut and Popeye's, is for lease.