Bureaucracy triumphant, San Franscisco ice cream parlor edition.

I’m not sure that Cory Doctorow quite understands the true message of the video below.

…although I’m pretty sure that Glenn Reynolds does. Doctorow linked to this as part of his rapid-blink reaction to the number of hoops (both in terms of time and money) that small businesses have to go through in order to start a business in the iconic-Blue city of San Francisco.  To summarize: would-be small business operators can expect delays of years and several hundred thousand dollars in costs.  It’s so bad that the San Francisco planning department itself hates the process: yes, that video is from an official city government office.  But changing it… well.  They’re considering changes to streamline the process.And that’s why I said that the true message may not be as it appears on first glance.  I think that the video does not demonstrate a failure of the system; I think that it represents that system’s success.  It’s just that the system is not How to Get a Business Started in San Francisco; it is instead How to Siphon Off as Much Money as Possible From People Insane Enough to Want to Get a Business Started in San Francisco.  In that light, everything about putting together this ice cream party worked out great!  Site got rented, generating tax revenue for the city; various departments racked up some badly-needed fees; and various regulation fetishists got appeased.  So, everybody’s happy, right?

…Except for the people who wanted to sell and buy the ice cream.  But they don’t count in this context

1 Comment

  • Catseye says:

    Every city is like this to a greater or lesser degree. That’s what makes it so hilarious when politicians don’t understand why businesses would want to set up production in the country.

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