One of the problems in counties with developing economies is that the governments have remained too long in the business of influencing economy and are now stultifying the process.
In developed countries, the argument usually is that government should stay out of the process all together and leave the market alone, laissez fare.
Nothing is completely right nor completely right for long. This is true of the way cultures deal with their economies, as culture includes the economy.
Here in our little village community of Shorewood, we sometime ago decided to intervene in the economic process of land values; therefore we have developed policies that guide which developments we should support and which ones we should not.
We do this primary by engaging in land purchase transactions, some land meant for immediate development and some to be held for future development.
The value-increasing force that under-rides this policy has led to making money available for improving the facades of store buildings and it appears even for paying for certain development elements beyond facades and streetscaping.
As a citizen and observer, I haven't found how we make these decisions, which to buy, or help a developer to buy for what purpose when we get involved in the process.
Knowledge of the process must be in someone's head as is its rationale.
In a democracy, even in a small community, both the rationale and the policy should be made public for all of us to observe. Knowledge of what goes on is basic to democracy.
These policies, the intervention in the economic forces or in the “free market” have been applied in the acquisition of at least three sites, still awaiting development.
Streetscaping has pretty well been uniformly applied. And we can observe a number of renewed facades.
The money that has been put into these projects is justified on the basis that it eventually improves the tax base. The end often justifies the means. But in government, policies, means and ends all need to be justified in terms of our overall principles.
National principles, mores and social purposes usually take precedence over economic goals.
Yet within the overall process of redevelopment, the Village of Shorewood has chosen not to intervene in maintaining a small but significant social element of our community, that has been privately operated as Schwartz's Bookstore.
It seems logical to ask, why is government intervention justified for one socio-economic purpose and not for another?
Isn't this bookstore's survival as important to us in Shorewood as another's facade? What business district improvement, if any is likely to take its place there this year or next that is going to be better than our bookstore?
Why shouldn't we maintain or raise the social value of the bookstore as we improve property values in other parts of the community?
Shouldn't the public be told more about how the policy works? And who decides on where and how it works? Shouldn't we also know who is the keeper of these answers?
Dictators of underdeveloped countries feel that the public has no right to know.