25 Jul 2008

Crafty Vegas

DW says:
I'm curious. In your interview you mention Las Vegas' efforts to take water from rural areas of Nevada by building a billion dollar pipeline and buying up water rights, ala Chinatown. You indicate that that would be a bad thing. How does your opposition to that project square with your "the market will fix everything" philosophy? Vegas has billions in gamblers money, and can buy up anything it wants to. So why shouldn't that be allowed to happen per your perfect market model? Markets don't put much weight on keeping rural Nevada safe for ranchers and farmers
I replied that I am opposed to the Southern Nevada Water Authority's move for three reasons:
  1. They are using political pressure to get the water (hardly perfect markets).
  2. They are building a big pipeline while promising to only take "sustainable" water. That's unlikely.
  3. Selling rights/land is a permanent transfer. I'd prefer leases, which can be reversed if something goes wrong.
I'd prefer that SNWA buy <20% of the sustainable yield (e.g., the PVID-MWD deal) -- just to keep the rural areas from turning into a dustbowl (a la Owens Valley); see also this related post.

Bottom Line: Markets are great, but they take time to evolve. Paying someone for something they sell voluntarily is not always just -- ask a drug-addicted prostitute.

1 comment:

  1. "ask a drug-addicted prostitute."

    Ask a Drug-Addicted Prostitute would have been a good weekly feature for the old blog!


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