Monday, November 11, 2019

Amsterdam Journal: Postmodern Industrialism

Amsterdam at Night (photo: Francis Levy)
If there was any doubt about Amsterdam’s credentials, just look at the scenery when you drive in from Schiphol Airport. Yes, London is still the center of world banking, but take note of the post- modernist Baker & McKenzie and Deloitte buildings. Hardcore Denim is the name of one the companies that has a tower heralding its product. But this is not some hydrocarbon complex in New Jersey with its green pools of toxic waste. The Dutch are a paean to the new techno age of wealth preservation; after all they were the first boys on the block and drove a pretty hard bargain as colonists in places like Indonesia (a la the Dutch East India Company). Now everything about Amsterdam and Holland is clean and new and in places where productivity occurs, almost surgically antiseptic. The only requirement is profitability. Profit is the ghost that lingers in the background of a society that provides social entitlement in a capitalist context. In fact, Amsterdam in contrast to its Scandinavian counterparts is a relatively deregulated society. Capitalism and Freedom was the title of the tome by the supply side economist Milton Friedman. Does that explain the hustle and bustle where there’s not only one of the few remaining Red Light districts in Europe, but also tastefully designed sex shops all over the city (which are a far cry from the seedy establishments selling dildos and lingerie on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan) and, of course, legalized pot. Back in the day New Amsterdam was a rip-off from the its eponymous model, but no one would ever consider modern day Amsterdam a rip-off of New York. You have a lot of places offering New York Pizza but that’s as far as it goes.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.