Saturday, June 11, 2011

If there were no government...

Alex Tabarrok drew many people's attention to this fascinating NY Times piece on Gurgaon, India.

"In this city that barely existed two decades ago, there are 26 shopping malls, seven golf courses and luxury shops selling Chanel and Louis Vuitton. Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs shimmer in automobile showrooms. Apartment towers are sprouting like concrete weeds, and a futuristic commercial hub called Cyber City houses many of the world’s most respected corporations. "

The fascinating part? No municipal government. No public transportation, public parks, police force, etc. It is the libertarian dream. The private market filled the gaps, companies paid for their own transportation for workers, private security companies defend property, private firms provide electricity. It appears that within the city "islands" of prosperity and cohesion have sprung up and in between the islands is a lawless wasteland. There are issues of the commons and uninternalized externalities, which I'm sure plenty of economists will write papers about how they are resolved, but the standard of living in the city is one to which most in the world would aspire to.

I encourage you to read Tabarrok's comments as well as his link to Yglesias'.

1 comment:

Keith Walters said...

That was really interesting. I want to get a huge loan and build a sweet city in Nebraska now. I am pretty sure I could do a better job at city planning than whoever has been responsible for the development of Lexington over the past 100 years.