Tuesday, February 26, 2013

You May Find Yourself Living in a Shotgun Shack

Tyler Cowen directs my eyes to a photo essay of teeny tiny little Hong Kong apartments. The author, Adam Taylor, describes the squalor as "shocking". I can sort of agree, though I feel it necessary to point out that for the better part of two years, I lived aboard a dinky sailboat that was too small to stand up in, so please forgive me if I refrain from rending my clothes and gnashing my teeth.

Taylor notes high income inequality, but I think my interpretation of this state of affairs is a little different. Far from cause for worry, I celebrate Hong Kong's liberal immigration policy. Imagine how much worse things were back home. Imagine how much better many of these people will be in the future by (a) having access to
one of the freest economy in the world and (b) having clear incentives to improve their human capital. Imagine getting some good before-and-after pictures.

Slum housing: not euvoluntary. Alternatives: probably worse.

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Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?