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Part III: Near the Future > Chapter 5: An Idler in the City

CHAPTER 5

An Idler in the City

Capitalism Is Where We Live

When you have bought one fine thing, you must buy 10 more, that your appearance may be all of a piece; but Poor Dick says, ‘It is easier to suppress the first desire than to satisfy all that follow it.’ And it is as truly folly for the poor to ape the rich, as for the frog to swell, in order to equal the ox.

—Benjamin Franklin, The Way to Wealth

A survey of the key megacities of the world—from Athens to Paris and Istanbul to Tokyo—proves the need for new forms of leadership in a world constrained by carbon, capital, and the very nature of capitalism. As waters rise near Manhattan and our most ancient coastal megacities, new forms of competition must emerge and thrive. We must humanize more and agitate less as we near our shared future. The family of humans requires it.


  

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