Monday, February 09, 2004

The Southern California Association of Governments has been trying to manage regional development for almost 40 years. Since 1998, they have been issuing a "regional report card", documenting performance in seven categories: income, education, employment, safety, air quality, housing and traffic. The grades awarded are usually miserable. It is often a version of "it's too crowded; no one wants to come here anymore." But, many (mainly from abroad) do want to come here and they do. A sub-text of the SCAG report is that governments are not doing enough. There are plenty of ironies. An underreported theme is that perhaps governments at all levels are doing too much and/or all the wrong things. Too much regulation; too little reliance on markets and incentive-based policies. The latter alternative hypotheses are not considered. Give them more time?