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ignorance abounds

Ah the Tinytown City Council again provides fodder for thought. Now it is “grappling with an issue of subdivisions abandoning common lots and pocket parks.” They discussed: 1. disallowing them in the future, 2. developing a fee mechanism chargeable to the individual lots and associated with the water bill, 3. accepting the lots into the city’s park inventory, and 4. transferring as many lots as possible to the ownership of the adjacent properties.

It is a rough world for central planners. They so want to control everything and be perfect at it. Nobody can do it as well as they can, but in their own minds they know full well that they are clueless. Their shots in the dark will certainly be better than anybody else’s, but, gee, if only a really good idea would pop into their heads once in a while, this control thing could be so much fun.

Having never heard of The Free Market, they won’t think to apply it here. The solution is easy and obvious when supply and demand is part of your tool set.

SELL THE THINGS! Let the market decide what the best and highest use is.

One of the adjacent neighbors might want to expand their garden, put in a pumpkin patch or at the very least, make sure the lot next door doesn’t detract from their view and property value. Perhaps the local Bocce, Croquet and Gerbil Racing Club is looking for a venue to run their events and one of these little grassy lots is perfect.

When we let The Free Market decide what the best use is, we really don’t have to know The Right Answer. Creative ideas are all around us. That has always been the greatest power of the human race – turning the creators, innovators and experimenters loose. They often flop, but they are free – meaning both that they cost nobody else anything AND that they are unconstrained. They are having a lot of fun expressing their inner selves and everybody else gets to enjoy the results… even if it is merely comic relief.

Oh, but we can’t have a crackpot building a pyramid, oil well or automobile wrecking yard there. OK, then put some restrictions on the lot prior to offering it up for auction. That may limit its market value a bit, but as long as some freedom is left to work with it, there will be a market value. Then somebody will have a vested interest in its upkeep. No taxing authority needed.

I remember years ago at another city’s council meeting where the rulers were “wrestling” with how to continue to afford operating their mega-center. When my turn to talk came, I held out a dollar bill and offered to buy it and run it for a profit without any further cost to anybody else. The councilmen all started slobbering, shaking and speaking in tongues. None of them had any good reason for turning down my offer to save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. However, turn it down they did.

Could it be among the little known facts of the cosmos that surgical removal of free market knowledge is a requirement for gaining elected office?