Sunday, October 11, 2009

Contracts hung out to dry

Statists feast on the "market failure" idea. Trouble is that too few bother to be critical. "Externalities" are everywhere and allegations are sufficient to extend the police (or other) power of local (or other) government. "The environment" and "climate change" are special because they can be used to add sanctimony to the discussion.

Blame the teachers of economics? Note to self: Check popular textbook discussions of externalities and see if any nuance is included. Is there any discussion of thresholds that negative externalities must meet before voluntary contracts are trashed?

Today's NY Times includes this about private community clothesline bans voided -- in the name of you-guessed-it preventing some carbon emissions. Commercial dryers are becoming more energy efficient almost every year. But that's not the main point. Rather, rules adopted close to home should not be overridden by higher-level-government rules except when he case is clearly made. Otherwise, in the name of "saving energy", any contract can be voided by any legislature.