Brad Taylor doesn’t think that the government should be installing acne-revealing lighting to ward off teenage hoodlums. In the UK they’re installing special lights that highlight acne in areas where teenagers congregate to get drunk, intimidate people and write graffiti all over the walls. Apparently it’s been very successful at dispersing the crowds!
So crowds gather, litter, intimidate people and vandalise the area without actually paying for the cost of their actions. That’s an externality if ever I saw one! Ordinarily, people conform to social norms that prohibit such behaviour. When they refuse to do so there is a cost to others who are harmed by the behaviour, and a monetary cost to the local authority of repairing the vandalised property. We can’t make them pay for it and calling out the police is both expensive and often ineffective, since the police can’t be there every night. In the UK they’ve found a low cost, highly effective solution that mitigates the externality problem. I’m not really sure how one could reasonably object to such a solution, but I’ll be interested to hear Brad discuss it further.