I had Skyline Chili for dinner this evening for the first time in years. My co-author Robert Lawson–our paper “Human Rights and Economic Liberalization” is here–had sent me a couple of cans of Skyline chili, spaghetti, and red beans as one fo the conditions of a bet we had made: his Cincinnati Reds won the NL Central, but my St. Louis Cardinals won the season series, and it was also a gesture of magnanimity on his part. Now, I’m sitting at Starbucks and thinking about how much I wish Memphis had the following food franchises: Skyline Chili, Five Guys Burgers, In-N-Out Burger, Milo’s, and Tim Horton’s. Anti-chain activists would no doubt decry the loss of horizontal diversity as Memphis would start to look like Anywhere, USA, but I think we’re really losing out when we turn our noses up at the depth of experiences we could enjoy with greater market integration. As Virginia Postrel has written, it’s true that places start to look alike as markets integrate more completely, but that “alike” features a greater depth of possible experiences. It’s true that I’m not going to lose much sleep over the fact that I can’t usually get Skyline Chili in Memphis–indeed, I might lose sleep because I had it for dinner. When you add up all the margins on which greater market integration is thwarted, the difference between where we are and where we could be is substantial.
Source link: http://archive.mises.org/14033/horizontal-diversity-vertical-diversity-and-a-sense-of-place/
Horizontal Diversity, Vertical Diversity, and a Sense of Place
Previous post: All Aboard the King Subsidy Train!