Comment 31862

By mikeonthemountain (registered) | Posted June 18, 2009 at 09:57:24

"Because the trail is free, the city can't ever know if society values it more than the cost to build it, or whether they value it less"

"Furthermore, when a large percentage of your local economy is based on this type of investing, where the value of the investment to society is completely unknowable, the obvious result is an economy that makes fewer profitable investments and more wealth destroying investments. "

The auto bailout is just one example which enables the argument to be inverted, but this time we're talking billions spent with little way to measure whether we got back value to our society. Also highways and roads have budget overruns (Red Hill for example) that are subsidised in addition to the original budget. Even if it is provincial/federal and not local, when our treasuries are broke or in debt they are going to raise our taxes; we pay anyway. Watch how easy it is to substitute just about anything in that paragraph:

"On the other hand, if government invests Y in automobiles/transit/hospital/etc, how does anyone know if Y + $ has been created. Because the subsidy is free, the city can't ever know if society values it more than the cost to build it, or whether they value it less. "

Nevertheless, a moment after I posted I actually realized it's an imprecise comparison because money is being allocated elsewhere, not created, you're right about that.

My intention was not a logic-proof economic analysis which is not my strength anyway, just to suggest that what actual living humans consider wealth necessarily includes but is not limited to currency transactions. It is a matter of perspective. Different individuals consider different things important. It has been suggested many times that our economy is as unjust and troubled as it is, because factors such as clean water, clean air, good health, social cohesiveness, etc, are not factored into ye venerable learned Holy Roman definition of wealth. I consider small business with an emphasis on service and quality a form of wealth. I consider the availability of healthy food a form of wealth. I consider EVERYONE (car/bus/bike/rollerblade/walk/horse/jetsons hovercar) getting to their destination safely, without stress, efficiently, and even having enjoyment from it, a form of wealth. My opinion is not universal, but it is very prevalent. Ok I'm done, cheers!

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