Wednesday, January 27, 2010

What Is Living and What Is Dead In Social Democracy? Tony Judt

Zurich's Hauptbahnhof - A great example of a main train station (from my flickr photos).

I just finished reading Tony Judt's fascinating article What Is Living and What Is Dead In Social Democracy? from the New York Review of Books (December 19, 2009).

The article is especially interesting to me because is uses transportation, particularly privatization of transport services, as an example to explain the need for considering social benefits rather than very strict adherence to market-based economic considerations. Judt's example of private shops in a public railway station is excellent.

I read about the article in the equally interesting opinion article The Public Works by Nancy Levinson in Places. The article outlines how some of Judt's ideas could be thought about by designers (architects, engineers, and planners).


Jarrett said...

Andy. Thanks for pointing me to this. I did a response to Judt's piece here:

Saul said...

In September 2008, historian Tony Judt was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) – better known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease or Motor Neuron Disease. ALS is a degenerative neuromuscular disorder of the motor neurons: it is related to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, as well as lesser known neurological disorders.

Tony is my former university professor, mentor and close friend. Like so many, I have benefited from knowing him in more ways than I could begin to list. In the eighteen months since receiving his diagnosis I have watched Tony transform from a fit, healthy, active, independent man to a frozen body in a wheelchair. I have witnessed the frightening speed of his physical deterioration: first, losing the power of his fingers; then his arms; then his legs; and, within eight months, becoming confined to his present state: shriveled and paralyzed from the neck down, able to breathe only with the aid of a machine.

I am writing to you today about Move for ALS. On May 15th I will embark on a cycle ride from Seattle to New York to raise awareness of ALS and to raise money for Project A.L.S., the charity that supports scientific research seeking a cure to the disease. To date, Project A.L.S. has raised over $53 million, directing 82% to scientific research programs, including the foundation of the Jenifer Estess Laboratory for Stem Cell Research at Columbia University, the world’s first and only privately funded lab dedicated exclusively to ALS stem cell research.

In collaboration with Tony Judt and Project A.L.S., we have built a campaign website ( which has already received substantial attention from web and print media, as well as professional medical organizations. In under two days since the website was launched we have received over $2000 in donations and countless pledges of support: it has been a quite incredible response. But this is only the very beginning.

We appeal to you to join the campaign. Donations of any kind can be made easily on the Move for ALS website, with attractive gifts on offer to substantial donors. Checks can also be sent directly to Project A.L.S. (be sure to reference Move for ALS): 3960 Broadway, 
Suite 420,
 New York, New York, 10032, USA.

Publicity is equally important to the campaign. We would be especially grateful if you would forward this letter to friends, relatives, colleagues and anyone else: we want to offer people all over the world the chance to take part. If you have access to media or web outlets (e.g. blogs or heavy-traffic Twitter or Facebook pages) where you could give further publicity to our campaign, it would be particularly appreciated.

I believe that, during my lifetime, a cure can be discovered for this catastrophic disease. It will come only from expensive scientific research: and when it does it will be a joy to know that we had helped a little along the way.

Please join us and Move for ALS!

Saul Goldberg