Saturday, April 14, 2012

Tragedy of the Common

Here's something for the Institute for New Economic Thinking to think about;

The city [of Wenatchee, Washington] annually receives complaints from business owners and others who try to navigate the mish-mash of chairs, benches, ropes, chains and other items used to hold seating areas for the two Apple Blossom Festival parades, primarily along Orondo Avenue.
Most years around this time the City Council brings up the subject of possibly regulating the practice. And every year the topic fades quickly after the parade is done. This year, city officials would like to put together a committee of city staff, downtown business owners and festival organizers to make a recommendation on whether to regulate them starting next year.
“It’s been kind of a contentious issue every year,” Councilman Bryan Campbell said, adding that it’s somewhat “nostalgic” to note the arrival of the first chairs each year and it gets earlier and earlier all the time.
But, he said. “It’s not very sightly, and it could be a liability if someone gets hurt.”
Besides, he added, “It gives the wrong message to people coming from out of town ... that you have to be here three months early to get a seat.”
To that, Councilman Mark Kulaas groaned and said, “I really don’t want to touch it.”
He recalled his mother asking him to take picnic benches down to the parade route in the 1970s. He acknowledged that the chairs can hinder people trying to get out of their cars.
“It’s a touchy subject,” he said.
He suggested possibly developing a list of parade chair etiquette.
Maybe they could hire a Nobel laureate to advise them;

Prize motivation: "for her analysis of economic governance, especially the commons"
Field: Economic governance
Contribution: Challenged the conventional wisdom by demonstrating how local property can be successfully managed by local commons without any regulation by central authorities or privatization.

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