The Virtues of Planning—Slow Growth

https://grantcoulson.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/incentiveseverywherepicturecorrect1.jpg?w=444&h=288

       Do not think about, write about or deal with  human behavior without determining the effects of incentives. It’s not their money, of course they’ll waste it.

    Academics and philosophers get excited about someone who synthesize and integrate what has gone before while adding their new interpretation. The latest iteration is now THE TRUTH. It never is. This is like adding layers of cow shit and pretending that the last layer is candy.

    Wherein we see that lots of bureaucrats don’t make for a better life. Perhaps Obama’s idea about fundamentally transforming America by having more government control is not such a good idea. Hmm.

In my Econ Talk with Russ Roberts on private cities I said this about Houston:

    If we think about, what are the best cities in the United States, particularly for the poor, it’s places like Houston, which have no zoning and which have very easy regulatory systems in which you can build. You can get a permit to build within a matter of days, compared to New York where you’ve got to go through a dozen different permitting processes and you have to hire specialized people whose only job is really to stand in line to help you get through the process….So, people of modest means can still buy a house in Houston. And they can’t do that in many other places in the United States because of zoning and not-in-my-backyard rules, a kind of secession of the rich, not in terms of gated communities but in terms of adding on rules and restrictions on how large your lot has to be in order to build a house, how many people can live in the house etc. All of these things have made it extremely expensive to buy in any of these cities, which use more top down planning.

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   Is there such a thing as too many rules? They reduce prosperity and increase frustration. Good times.

The Economist illustrates with a remarkable statistic comparing Houston with all of California:

    Unlike most other big cities in America, Houston has no zoning code, so it is quick to respond to demand for housing and office space. Last year authorities in the Houston metropolitan area, with a population of 6.2m, issued permits to build 64,000 homes. The entire state of California, with a population of 39m, issued just 83,000.

– See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2015/03/houston-v-california.html#comments

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Government Job or Respect–Which’ll It Be?
Cheerio and ttfn,
Grant Coulson, Ph.D.
Author, “
Days of Songs and Mirrors: A Jacobite in the ‘45.”
Cui Bono–Cherchez les Contingencies

 

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