Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Hi Kevin, welcome aboard. I'm the nutty Belgian. On the pic below you see me with my late uncle (PBU). Some evil character on this blog likes to accuse me of wearing a cheesy hairpiece but you can clearly see that ain't the case. The bozos who run this place hired me back in November to provide them with, hahaaaaa, fasten your seatbelts, useful info on the EU and stuff and boy did they wish they could turn back time!

Me and Uncle Adolph

Kevin, don't get intimidated by these shameful greedy slimeballs. I for one recognized a soulmate. These are the quotes the dimwits failed to notice:

"I love making money..."

"I know all you guys are very pro-big business. That's fine..."

"Big biz is great..."

Son, I NEVER confused you with the likes of Chris Martin (ecofella who wed Gwyneth Paltrow and who also sings), who put this ephemeral wisdom on his CD (A Rush of Blood to the Head) (the only thing making sense in this title being Rush):

"For countries to develop or even survive they need to be able to trade fairly. At the moment poorer countries are strangled by ridiculous international trade laws and ruthless western businesses, keeping millions trapped in poverty and widening the gap between rich and poor."


Ladies and Gentlemen, like me Kevin is NOT a Chris Martin aficionado, (well... except for his music maybe because the fella has talent in that field). Kevin is like me, he wants to put a humane face on big development and capitalism WITHOUT making it impossible for it to thrive. In one of the previous comments I elaborated a little on the concept of "Ruimtelijjke Ordening" (again, how would you call that in your language?). Fact is, whereas twenty-five years ago businesses great and small in Flanders could do just about anything (like storing a huge deadly cocktail of dangerous chemicals and explosives in the heart of Ghent), they are now mostly grouped together on neat industrial zonings. This required legislation, true. It required financial efforts - from the authorities (buying and readying the terrains) - and from the companies (relocating). But guess what? Today investors great and small wouldn't want to be anywhere else than on these zonings. Access is easy (delivering raw materials, transporting finished stuff), the personnel can get there much more easily using public transport (bus stops in the zonings), and to some extent there is mutual enrichment. Of course we shouldn't forget the additional bonuses of not having the city clogged by heavy transport, plus that the visual pollution is kept to a minimum (zonings shielded off by shrub and larger trees), preservation of our scarce landscapes elsewhere.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I can't help but thinking that you, me and Kevin are basically on the same side of the fence, one only being a little more radical than the other. Big business' role as a nationwide provider of jobs, wealth and added value should be recognized and preserved. If they weren't there the socialist charities would have nothing to distribute (a fact they often tend to forget). On the other hand, if our companies can sustain it, why not gently require them - make that encourage them - to help us to make our countries not only rich but also pleasant to live in. Lke Scott said, living and working in a suburban sprawl ain't fun.


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