Monday, May 26, 2008

Current Projects

Here is what I'm currently trying to figure out by channeling my inner Tyler Cowen.
  • How can you combat the universal human tendency to stop in door ways? How many times have you been to a large event and the human traffic stops moving the moment you get to the door because everyone before you has stopped in the door? How can incentives be used to get people to take enough steps to keep the flow of traffic moving?
  • How can you get people to stop donating garbage to charity or giving you garbage? For example, someone can't bring themselves to throw away a worn out piece of furniture, so they give it to their church. On an individual level, if someone gives you garbage, you can give them garbage in return. At some point things should stop because the original giver no longer wants you to reciprocate. On the charity level, I'm not sure what to do.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Good and Bad of NIMBY

I've come to the conclusion that NIMBY has at least one virtue: it is proof that we've become wealthy and prosperous enough that we can afford to keep various productive activities out of our backyards without massive consequences.

On the other hand, if taken far enough, NIMBY could kill the goose that lays the golden egg; i.e. any business that someone finds offensive will be run or kept out of town thereby destroying or preventing prosperity. See Marlin, Texas for an example.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Urban Agriculture

Urban farmers in New York, Oakland, and elsewhere are raising fruits and vegetables in cities. They use vacant lots, backyards, and anywhere else they can find space. Most of it appears to be organically grown. The practice has grown from growing a few vegetables for a family's own consumption to selling the stuff in local markets. Most of these urban farmers make little money doing it, and many don't do it for the money, but some make 6 figures.

Man is a creative and adaptive species!