Detroit’s No-Jail EconomyMonday, June 3, 2013
A great story has emerged here in Detroit that helps to confirm my hypothesis that an environment of anarcho-entrepreneurship is surging due to the existence of a powerless, ineffective government (the best kind of government).
In the midst of all the great anarcho-happenings here, one blight on the landscape has been looking out of my office window every day at the Wayne County jail that is currently under construction on a prime piece of downtown property. They actually call this a criminal justice complex. The jail is a pet project of the Wayne County Executive’s office, the Wayne County Sheriff’s office, and the union workforce that was employed to construct it. Detroit has a disgraceful history of using prime pieces of downtown and riverfront land for building pet political projects and pass-thru freeways, which has left some of this city’s prime downtown areas almost unwalkable. On that note, I’ll quote Tom Lewand, president of the Detroit Lions.
“It’s always been the part of the central business district that’s stood out like a sore thumb,” Lewand said. “You’ve got this criminal justice center in its various shapes and forms that stands in between one great entertainment district in the Greektown area and another great entertainment destination in the stadium district. … I don’t think you could have found anybody who would have said the highest and best use of that gateway parcel of Gratiot would have been a new jail in terms of welcoming people to the central business district.”
Welcome to government central planning, Tom. Word is that at least $100 million has been spent on this fiasco thus far.
Crain’s Detroit is reporting that talks are underway to abandon the prison project because the project is already way over budget and way behind on a completion date. Additionally, there is a cheap, alternative location for the government’s prison camp. The interesting part is that the bungling politicians have turned to Detroit’s Renaissance Man, Dan Gilbert, to explore having his company purchase the site and repurpose it with his entrepreneurial vision. Gilbert, the founder of Quicken Loans, has been a magical force here in Detroit, as his Rock Ventures LLC is reforming downtown Detroit one piece of property at a time.
Government apparatchiks, with the fire burning ‘neath their buns, turning to private businessmen and investors to bail them out is a concession of failure on the part of government and a victory for the free market and private industry. Here’s to hoping that this latest botch on the part of the corrupt Wayne County Executive Robert Ficano will finally find him ejected from office, or better yet, make him a resident in his own prison, wherever that ends up being located.