On Whom the Sword Is Wielded
Interview with Robert Caro: "You have to write not only about the man who wields the sword, but also about the people on whom it is wielded.”
There's much talk about the "cost disease" lately - why are so many things, construction, health care, education - so much more expensive than they used to be? Following Caro's account of Moses' building projects in New York, one reason for earlier cost savings might be the disregard for people "on whom the sword is wielded." This seems to be the case in China too: lots of construction, regardless of the displacement it creates among poor people. Once you have a full review process in place that takes account of all parties' interests, things get costlier very quickly.
Many other points of interest in the interview, including how LBJ's prowess as a vote counter made him a uniquely successful in passing legislation, and how spending lots of time in rural Texas was crucial for understanding him.
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