Comment 42321

By A Smith (anonymous) | Posted June 22, 2010 at 18:19:53

Places become destinations not because of geography, but because of the people who live and work there. Downtown Hamilton used to be a destination because the people that lived there created products that people wanted to buy. Today, many of the people who reside downtown produce nothing of value, but only consume what society produces via our ever expanding welfare state.

Will two way streets or subsidized LRT inspire downtown residents to become more creative and design products that people want to buy? Or, will it make them even more reliant on government handouts? I venture to say the latter.

Ryan has told us that people respond to incentives. Give them free goods and services and most will take them. However, by creating a system whereby people can get stuff for free, it also creates dependency, much like drug or alcohol addiction. For some people, the lure of living off the government is too difficult to resist.

I would argue that many of the downtown residents are these kinds of people. They are not useless members of society, they are just biologically efficient. If you make life easy for these types of people, it doesn't help them, it weakens them. Without enough stress, these people are like bone or muscle without exercise, they weaken and lose capacity to function over time.

However, if these same people are forced to take care of themselves, pay for more (or all) of their own health, education, food and shelter, they will do just that. For these people, the loving hand of the welfare state is like poison. It destroys their natural inclination to be creative and produce wealth that society can benefit from and replaces it with frustration, boredom and likely crime.

To not see that free stuff can be destructive is to disregard how human beings evolved, by solving challenges and expending energy. Don't let people starve to death, or die from illness, but also don't make it easy to get free stuff. Make it difficult to get free stuff and less people will do so, instead more people will be forced to tap into their own human potential. That is the way to make the downtown a better place, don't fight nature.

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