Some Thoughts On City Government And Ratios

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As the population of a political unit gets smaller, it seems that the number of high ranking bureaucrats does not necessarily contract. A city of several million, for example, might have a council of 10 to 20 people and a mayor. The same structure is often copied and applied to towns that are ten or even one hundred times smaller. Thus, the kind of “representation” that one gets from living in a larger city vs a smaller one is different.

I’m not sure which is better from a libertarian point of view. On the one hand, with large cities you have access to more taxes but the lobbying might be harder to deal with since there are more players and possibly greater conflict. On the other hand, in a small town it might be easier for the governance to form more of a consensus (almost always a statist consensus) on where to spend. That said, maybe smaller towns are less socialist* than large cities where the cost of government can be spread out over a larger division of labor that is not as developed in the smaller political unit.

* except for Ithaca, NY, where I live –it is filled with reds.

11:32 am on February 26, 2008