I see that some of the commenters on my libertarian piece invoke the old “horrors of the DMV” line to claim that government never works. What’s remarkable about this line is that it reflects a fantasy — in this case, a negative fantasy — more than the reality. I’m sure that there are terrible DMV offices where people have miserable experiences, but that’s by no means universal or even normal. These days you can usually make appointments online; and even when you don’t, how bad is the experience?Better than it used to be, after years of ridicule by television comics (and libertarian economists) shamed them into straightening up and flying right. Not to mention Mitch Daniels hand on the tiller in Indiana--Hoosiers used to go to the DMV with a sack lunch and a copy of War and Peace and hope to hear their names called before they finished both.
But we don't expect Herr Krugman to take notice of the benefits of having a Republican governor any time soon. Nor do we expect to hear him praise private groups who are helping the public avoid dangerous locations--talk about your classic public good--if that would open him to charges of....
"White people create terrible app [SketchFactor] to avoid, um, sketchy areas" was one headline.
"Want to Avoid Black Neighbourhoods? There's an App for That" was another.
The founders [Allison McGuire and Daniel Herrington] did not reply to a request for comment, but on their website sought to refute such claims.
"SketchFactor is a tool for anyone, anywhere, at any time," they wrote.
"We have a reporting mechanism for racial profiling, harassment, low lighting, desolate areas, weird stuff, you name it."
They add that they tested the app with 100 people in various community groups in New York.We'd add that, since black Americans have historically been disproportionately the victims of violent crime, one might see this as a service to minorities. At least better than anything Al Sharpton ever did for them.