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May 14, 2011

What if Supermakets Operated Like Public Schools? [ArthurK]

Greg Mankiw's indispensible economic blog excerpts a WSJ article...

Suppose that groceries were supplied in the same way as K-12 education. Residents of each county would pay taxes on their properties. Nearly half of those tax revenues would then be spent by government officials to build and operate supermarkets. Each family would be assigned to a particular supermarket according to its home address. And each family would get its weekly allotment of groceries - "for free" - from its neighborhood public supermarket.

No family would be permitted to get groceries from a public supermarket outside of its district. ...

... quality of public supermarkets would play a major role in families' choices about where to live. Real-estate agents and chambers of commerce in prosperous neighborhoods would brag about the high quality of public supermarkets to which families in their cities and towns are assigned.

... thoughtful souls would call for "supermarket choice" fueled by vouchers or tax credits. Those calls would be vigorously opposed by public-supermarket administrators and workers.

As for the handful of radicals who call for total separation of supermarket and state --- well, they would be criticized by almost everyone as antisocial devils indifferent to the starvation that would haunt the land if the provision of groceries were governed exclusively by private market forces.

Huh!

I had heard public schools described as the most socialized part of American life but this comparison makes it extra-clear!



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posted by Open Blogger at 09:08 PM

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