Economics and the mid-life crisis have much in common: Both dwell on foregone opportunities

C'est la vie; c'est la guerre; c'est la pomme de terre . . . . . . . . . . . . . email: jpalmer at uwo dot ca

. . . . . . . . . . .Richard Posner should be awarded the next Nobel Prize in Economics . . . . . . . . . . . .

Monday, February 21, 2005

Anti-WalMart = Pro Old Building Owners

Subsidies [and related gubmnt regulations] rarely help suppliers of mobile factors of production. But they really help the owners of fixed factors of production. I wrote about this effect over a decade ago with the explosion of suburban shopping malls. As more malls were built, the owners of downtown buildings and land saw their rents plummeting and fought the growth of malls any way they could. Cases were made to halt construction of suburban malls for many reasons, but the primary economic effect was to benefit (albeit temporarily) the owners of downtown real estate.

Here is a further example, from Always Low Prices, of real estate owners' blocking (or attempting to block) changes in how commerce is carried out.
An unoccupied shopping center may be a form of urban decay, but to compare it to water or air quality is a stretch. It merely gives Wal-Mart's opponents another means to block a store. Nobody who can hire a lawyer should be allowed to go out of business because of Wal-Mart lest their building go unoccupied.
In case you didn't figure it out, that last sentence is sarcasm.
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