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Nobel-Winning Economist Paul Romer Goes to Burning Man

Helter-skelter is a decent description of the force from which economists believe ideas emerge. When people live close to one another, rather than close to the land, they hatch plans, they trade services, they discuss terrible ideas until they eventually arrive at good ones.

This is more or less what happens at Burning Man, too. But other cities have become symbols of greed and consumption, Mr. Roger said. And that greed is killing our Earth Mother.

“I think I have some of the same anxieties, but I’m coming to the view that it’s the market which is the danger, not the city,” Mr. Romer said.

“I’m afraid economists have really been serious contributors to this problem. This whole ideology of ‘government is bad, government is the problem’ has I think provided cover for rich people and rich firms to take advantage of things for their selfish benefit.”

He has been trying to figure out how to atone for that. As Mr. Romer’s conversation with Mr. Roger took on the air of a therapy session, I got the impression that he had also come to the desert to work through his angst with economics.

Mr. Roger, sympathetic, poured him his first taste of kombucha.

Read More by Emily Badger at the NY Times…

Larry Harvey, the man behind ‘radical self-expression’ at Burning Man, has died at 70

Anita Gates, The New York Times:

Larry Harvey, the guru-like driving force behind Burning Man, the globally celebrated anti-establishment, anti-consumerist festival that he and a friend began 32 years ago on a San Francisco beach, died on Saturday at a hospital in San Francisco. He was 70.

His death was announced on the Burning Man website.

And

Last year’s celebration drew roughly 70,000 participants, who were free to bring or build their own arts projects, perform their own music, dress any way they liked (participants in “drag races” run on foot, dressed in drag) or go nude — and dance and chant “Burn the man” during the big finale. That’s when a skeletal five-story-tall wood and neon man-shaped statue, stuffed with fireworks, is set ablaze.

Burning Man is run by Burning Man Project, a nonprofit organization that has an annual operating budget of about $30 million, according to the website. At his death, Mr. Harvey’s title was board president and chief philosophic officer.

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