Comment 15600

By beancounter (registered) | Posted December 11, 2007 at 21:34:29

“Or do we simply start by examining whether amalgamation is a failed idea in municipal government?”

This wouldn’t be a bad place to start, if someone wanted to champion such a large project.

I believe there would be a substantial body of evidence to sift through, as many jurisdictions have tried some form of amalgamation, and a great deal of investigation of the literature would be needed to come to a convincing conclusion.

We could also look at those places where amalgamations have been reversed and determine whether these have been successful.

The Free Flamborough website, for instance has this intriguing quotation in an article written by Ed Brooks, published September 23, 2003 in the Hamilton Spectator, discussing the formation of the New City of Hamilton:

 "The government also knew that amalgamation has nowhere produced cost savings, and that in the U.K. they have been reversed. Indeed academics such as Andrew Sancton have produced volumes of evidence that amalgamation has failed universally, and that U.S. cities enjoying renaissance, such as Boston and Pittsburgh, have succeeded because they are fragmented into hundreds of competing jurisdictions. Such municipal competition, which we will get through de-amalgamation, is now seen as the key to revival because it encourages co-operation across very wide geographic areas. (http://www.freeflamborough.org/spectator.html#1)

The article goes on to state six reasons why costs skyrocket in supercities, which is the exact opposite of the results claimed by the Harris government.

Perhaps E. F. Schumacher was right when he said “Small is Beautiful” in his book with that name, subtitiled “Economics as if People Mattered”.

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