Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Industrial Policy (Part 995)

The LA Times reports: "L.A. City Council Votes to Restrict Superstores ... The law would require studies of possible harm before large centers such as Wal-Mart are built."

I imagine that the 13 of 15 L.A. City Council members who voted for this measure also dream of requiring studies of the "possible harm" before anyone can legally file to compete with them at the polls.

For now, the professional harm detectors have a windfall. The influence of politicians and their acolytes is extended. Inefficient retailers get a pass. The poorest customers have to travel further for lower prices and more variety. Entry level jobs are foreclosed, etc., etc., etc.

Conventional measure of the size of government understate the harm that politicians do. The full consequences of this stuff are not so easily detected.