Saturday, February 23, 2013

More Examples of Mis-Guided Social Engineering

That last post got me warmed up. Some more examples of mis-guided, government-sponsored social engineering that spring to mind:

  • Locations of the campuses of the State University of New York (aka, SUNY), So many of them are in godforsaken corners of the state: Fredonia, Oswego, Oneonta. I don't know for sure, but it sure feels like that was someone's (Rockefeller-era?) idea of a way to spread the wealth.
  • There is a trend to putting prisons in rural areas. Yes, there is some justification, in that land and labor is probably cheaper. But separating prisoners from family members seems very much at odds with any hope of rehabilitation.
  • Special economic zones for depressed areas. This is really just the general case of the last post. State governments will commonly provide tax incentives for companies to relocate to depressed areas within the state. The tax incentives don't last forever, of course. So most likely, what you get for a 5-year tax incentive is creation of some job, a number of which are filled by people who relocate to the depressed area. Then when the 5 years are up, nothing about the area is any more intrinsically appealing than it was before, so the employer shuts down. But now they have dragged even a few more people to the depressed area, actually making the local unemployment problem worse.

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