social cost

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The apartment I live in has an open parking lot. I saw a police car parked outside when I was at work. That morning, I received an email from the apartment management, saying that someone’s car had been stolen, and specifically stated that it was a Kia. Not long after this happened, I saw the news. The New York City government sued Kia. The reason for the lawsuit was that there was no electronic anti-theft device, which led to a large number of thefts of related models and increased social operating costs. Of course, Hyundai actually has this problem, and this type of car has been sold for many years. The recent theft is related to the Kia challenge on YouTube and TikTok. Many people have uploaded instructional videos on how to steal a car in just a few minutes, and then this method It quickly became popular. Of course, these two car companies have also faced class-action lawsuits and have now settled with a loss of money, and they are only limited to American models (the United States does not mandate the installation of electronic anti-theft devices), but the New York City government’s model of suing companies is quite interesting.

As an environmental student, I am actually familiar with the concept of social cost, which is another term for externality. For example, if a city does not build a drainage system, sewage will inevitably flow across the streets, and diseases will easily spread. But building and maintaining the drainage system requires public investment. If someone really asks me to do it, he may say that I can treat my own sewage myself or discharge it farther away, as long as it does not affect my home, so I will not pay for it. In fact, this is still a contradiction between the small-scale farmer economy and the modern economy. Being self-sufficient as an individual will indeed be more free and romantic. It seems that there is no additional cost for each household to clean up the snow in front of the house. Even building its own water treatment system for each household will promote Employment and economic development. However, from an urban perspective, the cost of building a drainage system is lower than the total cost of building it for each household, and the marginal effect is very low: in each independent scenario, each additional household costs more than one drainage system. After the overall construction, each additional household will actually be connected to one more set of pipelines. Although buying one set per household will increase the profits of the drainage system production company, if another city builds an overall drainage system, it will naturally attract people to move in. After all, moving there will only require one more pipe to be connected, and staying in it will You need to buy a complete set locally. In the long run, although people working in drainage system production companies in single-family cities will make money, the lower cost of living in centralized drainage cities can attract more people, and an environment that is more capable of producing a productivity revolution requires a population base, such as 100,000 1%, the number of innovations will be greater where there is a large population, and good innovation will further reduce the cost of living and attract the population. This is actually the process of population urbanization in the process of modernization. Lower externality costs are an important reason why large cities can prosper and suck blood from the surrounding population and economy. Of course, this reason is neither necessary nor sufficient. If the small-scale peasant economy is developed enough, there is no need to deal with the city. If the system of the city is not designed properly, it will be destroyed if there is a problem.

On this basis, it would make sense for New York City to sue the car companies. As New York City is the most densely populated city in the United States, the per capita security cost can be considered part of the externality. Taking into account factors such as housing prices, living costs, and urban diseases, the per capita security cost should be the highest, but in fact the per capita security cost is the highest in the United States. It’s Baltimore. Of course, cities in blue states prefer to reduce their police force, but when there are more Kia car thefts, the consumption of police force will increase. At this time, more budgets will be needed to recruit police officers, which will either increase the city’s debt level or charge the city more Taxes are bad for elections on both sides. Therefore, after the city government gives a thumbs up, it still has to talk to the capitalists, and maybe it will have to look to Google and TikTok to back it up in the future. As an entity, the city manager has complex self-interest considerations and cannot simply be regarded as a lackey of big business or a public servant of the citizens. It is easier to check and balance its policies with things like budget and the number of residents who vote with their feet. If Kia is the company that mainly provides jobs and major tax revenue in New York City, then the management will not sue specifically. If you don’t understand, you can look at the battle between the Florida government and Disney this year. In order to keep Disney in Florida and create jobs , it almost became a corporate autonomous zone.

If you live in a city now, it is recommended that you pay more attention to the taxation and budget of your city. The more diversified the industry, the more interest groups of all parties need to compete with each other. At this time, the city will be fairer and become the spokesperson of ordinary citizens. At the same time, it should be noted that in order to maintain operations, cities must equally share the cost of public services. Many cities in the United States have city taxes in addition to federal taxes and municipal taxes, and the social security bases of cities in the country are also different. This cost of living will be affected by externalities. For example, if you live on the coast, then under the background of climate change, the frequency of extreme weather such as typhoons, heavy rains, and high temperatures will increase, and the cost of living in the city will increase irreversibly. This part of the cost will be reflected in Once the maintenance of hospitals, fire brigade and municipal systems reaches a certain level, people will flee the city and choose another settlement. Another solution is to transform the surrounding areas into functional and auxiliary areas. For example, Jersey City and western Connecticut near New York City have actually become the sleeping cities of New York City. Many people take the train and subway into the city during the day and go out of the city to sleep at night. The same situation exists in Huilongguan in Beijing. As long as large cities control their public transportation planning, they can use satellite cities to relieve the negative pressure caused by dense internal populations. In this way, single cities that are too large will become metropolitan areas and gradually radiate outward. If you have grown bacteria on culture media, you should be very aware of the spread of bacterial colonies. A city is essentially a large colony of bacteria covering the surface of the earth in human units. From the perspective of the earth, it looks like the skin is infected.

There is a clear first-mover advantage in urban development. Early settlers took advantage of their better economic situation and first-mover advantage to avoid many jobs that were heavy, low-income, and low in social status. Most of the people engaged in these industries are new immigrants who hope to change their destiny through their own hard work. This kind of alternation between the old and the new is happening in the world. This happens again and again in every metropolis. For example, a hundred years ago in New York, many Chinese men would choose Irish girls to start families. The main reason was that the two groups were new immigrants to New York. The locals naturally despised them, and it was easy for them to get together if they were in the same boat. If you have lived in Shanghai, you will know the deep-rooted discrimination that Shanghai locals have against people from Northern Jiangsu. In fact, Northern Jiangsu does not refer to a specific place, but is just a developing definition based on accent, which refers more to a society that came later. Lower economic status immigrant groups. Not to mention that the Gypsies and Jews wandering around are almost always described as representatives of evil by the local natives. Even if you are rich, you will say that you have made a deal with the devil. You must find some sense of superiority in your values. In the beginning, in a city where there are many aborigines, there is not much discrimination, and they may be extra polite to foreigners. But if more successful people appear in the immigrant group, then the lost aborigines will begin to strengthen discrimination to maintain their authority, but when the discrimination reaches After discovering to a certain extent that it is ineffective, in order to prevent oneself from being discriminated against, one advocates fairness more. The boss benefits from fighting with the second and the third, and in the end all forces maintain a balanced state. Metropolitan areas around the world are the first places where international or domestic immigrants settle, and they usually arrive in areas where the same ethnic group gathers first. This is especially true for an international immigrant city like New York, where less than half of the immigrants are white. Of course, rich people in the city will try their best to maintain their old money status, but it is much more difficult than in a country club managed by acquaintances. Many rich people like to move away from the city after getting married and starting a business, which is also part of their metabolism.

A misunderstanding here is that immigrants have taken away employment opportunities from local people, but the reality is that in many industries local people are very costly to do it or are simply unwilling to do it. The former will further increase the cost of urban living and lead to population outflow, while the latter will not do it at all. Improve employment rates. If a city wants to remain dynamic, it must continue to attract new immigrants and solve development problems until low-end industries can completely replace labor with cheaper robots or automated equipment. At that time, the city may move toward a closed internal cycle. In fact, many science fiction works envision such closed cities as the main living model in the future. However, currently the cost of machines is still more expensive than people in many industries, especially the service industry, so we will see that big cities are more tolerant of undocumented immigrants. One is Management costs are relatively high. Another reason is that many undocumented immigrants actually receive wages below the market price, which reduces the cost of living in the city, and the city does not have to bear the cost of pension for these people. The best understanding of this in China is that migrant workers have moved to cities in the past 20 to 30 years. The salary of migrant workers in cities is lower than that of citizens, but higher than that in rural areas. If they work for a few more years, they can return to their hometowns to buy houses or directly settle in cities. Behind every developed city are the stories of several generations. The city belongs to the locals as well as the immigrants who dedicated their youth. Opportunities are more fair and equal than in acquaintance society. It is both hell and paradise. After all, the city model always requires a poor person. Do you think the city will allow these places of origin to develop and grow as immigrants come from?

The sensitivity of social costs in big cities is much higher than that in rural areas, so policies in big cities are generally several versions ahead of those in small and medium-sized cities. Of course, there are some social costs that large cities need to bear, but small and medium-sized cities simply cannot use them. For example, large cities will eventually choose the technical route of incineration for garbage disposal due to land prices, while small cities may only need one landfill for hundreds of years. However, in the long run, the resource utilization efficiency of large cities should still be higher than that of small and medium-sized cities. Even if a small amount of land is expensive, they will still attract people. At the same time, if a city enters recession, it may not recover for a long time. New York City has experienced several recessions in the past 100 years, each time for different reasons, but in the end it inexplicably returned to prosperity. Smaller cities are not necessarily so lucky, such as cities with relatively single industries like Detroit. Urban maintenance costs are basically rigid. When operating costs exceed income, they will inevitably weaken. If you want to maintain it, you must increase revenue and reduce expenditure, and carry out technology reserves and industrial diversity exploration in advance.

In the future, we will see more urban confrontations than national confrontations. If they are positioned closely in the global industrial chain, then the confrontation between cities will even be transnational. For example, New York, London, and Hong Kong compete with each other for financial industry resources. Although cross-border mobility of talents is not realistic now, there is almost no restriction on cross-city mobility. Therefore, we will see domestic cities competing for talents in the past few years, and there is no need for two metropolises within 200 kilometers. There will definitely be misaligned competition. . Instead of restricting urban development, the national level should encourage it. Restricting internal urban development actually weakens the city’s international competitiveness. What about the countryside? Move people to cities. There is a voice that believes that too rapid urbanization is the root of many social problems, but no one knows what proper urbanization is. We still have to follow the example of the New York City Government to settle accounts, and file lawsuits to get back the extra costs.

However, even if you do not have to pay actual costs or receive compensation, any behavior that increases operating costs for society will be added to your or other people’s expenses in some form. Rather than shifting costs through litigation, reducing costs is a more appropriate direction, such as encouraging public transportation and eliminating the motivation for car theft and channels for selling stolen goods at the source. Guess who will be the first to object? Car owners, car companies, or car cities?

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