Monday, December 11, 2006

I Like My Markets Like I Like My Pepsi: Black, Bubbling, and Free From Government Intervention

Slate reviews a book that is definitely on my reading list, given my interest in black markets and anarcho-capitalist economies:

The result, Off the Books: The Underground Economy of the Urban Poor, suggests that in some American neighborhoods, the underground economy is a source not just of sustenance but of order, and that while shady transactions may be illegal, they adhere to a distinctive and sophisticated set of laws.

As the article states, it brings to mind a great old headline from the Onion: "It's Not a Crack House, It's a Crack Home".

Friday, December 01, 2006

Their Job Is to Snow Us

It's snowing a lot in B.C. right now (and me and my skis are here in Jersey...sigh), but in Santa Monica the government is really trying to snow the citizens by using 9-minute parking meters. Interspersed in the middle of a bunch of 9-hour meters, of course. And these are the only 9-minute meters in the city. And they (and their signs) look exactly like the 9-hour meters. If there's ever been a clearly illustrated instance of a municipality literally trying to trick people into getting parking tickets, I haven't heard of it. Whoever is behind this should be chained to one of the 9-minute meters for 9 hours. Where drivers can do to them as they please.

UPDATE: The city now says it was all a mistake, and they are changing the meters. I guess I'll give them the benefit of the doubt on this one, since the 9-minute parking space was perhaps (perhaps!) even too dumb a way for a municipal government to steal our money.