City of Angels, 3/31
Reflections from a recent visit to LA
Heaven, is this Heaven where we are?
—Robert Buck, Natalie Merchant “City of Angels” from In My Tribe, of course.
If you a throw a rock in Los Angeles, you are likely to either hit a small home that costs a million dollars or a big pile of garbage. I took the picture above while on a bike ride, where I saw plenty of both, especially the latter.
I also took a picture of a billboard I saw, which advertised scalp-tinting for men who want to improve their bald look.
That seems like something that would be valued in LA and only in LA.
I started to wonder what a libertarian Los Angeles might look like. In particular, what if all of the land, including streets, sidewalks, and parks, were privately owned?
All roads would be toll roads. Different sections of a freeway might have different owners. Owners of roads would probably use a common toll collection system, something like EZ pass. Drivers who want to avoid traffic could pay extra to get into express lanes. At times of day when roads are congested, tolls would go up, especially for express lanes.
There would be much more multifamily housing. This would put downward pressure on rents and house prices.
The beaches and the facilities there would be privately owned, so that the public would have to pay for access. Owners might collaborate on a system of beach passes that residents could buy to use at multiple beaches.
The homeless would not have access to urban camping, because few owners of land would permit it. Instead of being allowed to build mounds of trash, indigent people might be paid by land owners to help clean the streets. Those who could not obtain gainful employment would either have to find charitable support or move elsewhere.
Whether there would be any sidewalks or bike lines is an interesting question. Other uses for land probably would be more economically efficient. Only a few developers would find it profitable to create pedestrian-friendly zones. Even fewer would find it profitable to build bike paths, supported by bikers paying for passes. But I imagine that there would be many areas not friendly to either walking or biking. Dog owners who rent their dwellings presumably would need pet-friendly landlords in pedestrian-friendly developments.
Would it be economical to provide parking? Without parking available, commuting and shopping would seem to require taxis and Uber. If so, what would become of LA’s car culture? I wonder if the owner of this one tints his scalp.
Schools, water, and utilities would be privately provided. Service quality and price would be determined by competition, not regulation.
I am just idly speculating, not advocating. On balance, these changes might not be desirable. In any case, it is impossible to get from here to there.
I just thought it might be interesting to try to run the thought experiment. Maybe you have different notions of what it might look like.
Ok song, and quite fitting album name. But this one's much, much better:
Are you a lucky little lady in the city of light?
Or just another lost Angel.
City of night...
Hadn't seen this particular vid with cool car scenes of '71 movies.
LA is a city of cars. A more Libertarian city would be far far more gated. But as mentioned, can't get there from here - for So. Cal.
Tho I wonder about big tracts of beachfront property in Baja, South of Ensenada.
The question is when is the next meet up for In My Tribe subscribers that live here in LA??