In the twentieth century, the neoclassical view became what Kuhn (1970) calls “normal science,” or textbook economics. Not unlike the way Newtonian mechanics came to mean physics, the neoclassical approach came to mean economics. But the process of normalizing economics was one of continuous intellectual and political ferment that itself merits a volume on the political economy of economics (Foley, 2006). The so-called Austrian and Cambridge wings of the mainstream neoclassical school debated the centrality of markets and the role of the state. Institutional, Marxian, and corporatist approaches leveled more fundamental criticisms at the paradigm’s assumptions, concepts, conclusions, and engagement (or lack of engagement) with political and social life.” — Vincent Mosco, The Political Economy of Communication
This idea, that the realization of a chosen emotional situation depends only on the thorough understanding and calculated application of a certain number of concrete techniques, inspired this “Psychogeographical Game of the Week” published, not without a certain humor, in Potlatch #1:
“In accordance with what you are seeking, choose a country, a more or less populated city, a more or less busy street. Build a house. Furnish it. Use decorations and surroundings to the best advantage. Choose the season and the time of day. Bring together the most suitable people, with appropriate records and drinks. The lighting and the conversation should obviously be suited to the occasion, as should be the weather or your memories.
“If there has been no error in your calculations, the result should satisfy you.”” —Guy Debord, Introduction to a Critique of Urban Geography
In New York City, the arrangement of many of the major streets dates to the seventeenth century, the stock exchange to the eighteenth century, the waterworks to the nineteenth, the electrical power system to the twentieth. The arrangement might be more efficient if all civic systems were constructed in parallel and replaced periodically (which is why disastrous fires – the great conflagrations of London and Chicago, for example - are sometimes an aid in city planning). But the slow accretion of new functions permits the city to work more or less continuously through the centuries. In the seventeenth century you traveled between Brooklyn and Manhattan across the East River by ferry. In the nineteenth century, the technology became available to construct a suspension bridge across the river. It was built precisely at the site of the ferry terminal, both because the city owned the land and because major thoroughfares were already converging on the pre-existing ferry service. Later when it was possible to construct a tunnel under the river, it too was built in the same place for the same reasons, and also because small abandoned precursors of tunnels, called caissons, had already been emplaced during the construction of the bridge. This use and restructuring of previous systems for new purposes is very much like the pattern of biological evolution.” —Carl Sagan, Cosmos