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Alex B.
Could you explain what exactly you mean by constraints on supply if not regulations like zoning?

In biology, there are constraints to growth everywhere, it's part of any ecology with out which an imbalance might proove catastrpohic. The strong adapt and the weak perish. Mind you I'm probably as much a free marketer as you and most here, but the constant bashing of regulations needs some refining.

As you acknowledge, it isn't simple, but that shouldn't stop you from elaborating on the mantra of breaking the height restrictions or complaining about historic preservation designations, especially on this site where people are sophisticated on these issues.

Also, if you acknowledge that developers love any regulations that make them richer and hate the ones that reduce their profits, then you must acknowledge that regulations are rules that make a free market run more smoothly, lest one predator get the upper hand consistently, and spoil the stew for everyone, including themselves in the long run.

"Isn't the "free market" full of developers wanting to control their developments with regulations (HOA) to ensure their investments?
Sometimes, but not always. I don't see what that has to do with constraints on supply, either."

Then let's say regulations are for those times when a developer isn't entirely thinking about the common good. And it has everything to do with supply becasue if a developer can reduce the supply when the demand is up, he can extract more profits. So what's good for the market at the supplier's end is bad for the user's end. It's nirvana that all players will be loving life. Infact, the other conundrum is would you rather be in a tight market where you could find work or a cheap market where there are no jobs. It's hard to separate the two.

You acknowledge it isn't simple, but then go on to say something simplistic like "An efficient market allows supply to increase to meet demand; an inefficient one does not. And the increased cost and reduced quantity of housing we all bear is the deadweight loss."

How does DC not "allow supply to increase to meet demand"? Most visitors would marvel at our skyline full of cranes. And to think one can develope a market that is free of inefficiency is not to understand how brilliantly inefficient humans can be. It reminds me of the modernist ideal of building as a machine for living, which dosen't account for the intangibles that define quality of life, no matter how inefficient something might seem on paper.

I'm a free marketer also, but like any good game, we need rules to ensure some modicum of fairness. Not every kid is large, and when the big kids throw an elbow to score a goal, that dosen't make for a good game, that's just shooting fish in a barrel.

by Thayer-D on Dec 20, 2012 5:00 am • linkreport

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