Saturday, November 29, 2008

Unintended Consequences

The owners of buildings that have been tagged by New York City's Landmarks Preservation Commission are either altering or demolishing buildings before they can be classified as a landmark. Read the story here.

I'm not going to take the time to dig through the fine print of New York City's Landmark Preservation Commission, but if it is like other such commissions and boards around the country, once a piece of property has been designated as historical, the owner is prevented from using the property in any way not approved by the commission. A very strong case can be made that this is a taking.

The commission would be better off buying the property from the owner and preserving the desired building itself. But then that would get in the way of a free lunch.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

NIMBY: Big Box Edition

No Big Box on Issaqueena!

Some South Carolina residents don't want a Lowe's in a certain part of town. Two observations:
  1. If people want it, it will come and it has to go somewhere.
  2. If the developer is getting special treatment, you've got an argument. Fight that.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Who Says Economists Don't Have a Sense of Humor

From George Stigler's famous The Theory of Price, Third Edition.

Again, those enterprises requiring very close coordination of skills of men are seldom large scale: no novel can be written by more than two persons (and of these at most one can be a woman), no orchestra can have 300 members and still be called symphonic.
Two of my female colleagues didn't find this as funny as I did.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting Schmoting

An excellent video starring economist Gordon Tullock explaining why he doesn't vote. It is also an outstanding 5 minute, cute introduction to economic analysis.

Election Day

"Freedom is not measured by the ability to vote. It is measured by the breadth of those things on which we do not vote."

John Wenders