Tuesday, August 31, 2010

How to make cities better?

I think this is a really great video that both statists and libertarians should watch. It is about what makes cities work and what makes cities fail. As I heard recently from TRS about New York, “who wants to raise children in this dump?” What is it that makes some cities dumps that you want to move out of and some cities attractive locations for settling in? How can Americans change the failure stories of some of their big cities into success stories?

This video is about Cleveland, Ohio (as my fiancée’s brother recently said about travelling through Ohio: “There is nothing here”), but I think some lessons drawn in it can apply to some general principles of statism vs. privatization.

Watch here.

My favorite parts (after watching the first video, I am actually considering moving to Houston despite the terrible weather):

About private vs. public parking, markets and golf courses (another great episode):

I liked the Eastern European woman. “In the bathroom upstairs, you have a cold water faucet and a hot water faucet. So, when you want to wash hands, you have to move them like that ←→. The city doesn’t have $20 to buy a faucet?” Apparently not.

But that wasn’t the most amusing part about the above video. Look, you can debate however long you want whether the government should be in charge of defending us, policing us and enacting laws, or if private organizations (in a state of anarchy) would be better for it. You can even debate about the welfare and caring for the poor as a job for the government. But when did taking care of golf courses become the government’s job? How is that not robbing people when you take their taxes to pay for a golf course (with uncut grass) to which nobody goes to play?

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