The Economics of Old Buildings

While we are talking economics, let’s talk about a cost that the owner, builder or the developer do not bear: the cost of extracting new materials from the earth, the cost of the cleanup after those materials are extracted, transportation of goods, demolition, etc. For visual purposes, imagine a hole in the ground the size of the building it produced. Economists call these “externalized costs.” They are not borne by those who profit, but by those who have no say in their creation, meaning you and me and most everyone else on earth.

When developer plans are not weighed against the externalities, waste, fraud and abuse are maximized. The human race has not thrived by prioritizing profit but rather health and wellbeing.

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