From the BBC today: High Street needs post-war scale rebuilding says report
“The report found that in the past four decades, retail floor space in England increased by around 43 million square metres.”
The overestimation by developers of society’s desire for retail outlets is one of the consequences of the surge of increasingly cheaper credit over the last four decades, which was a quite deliberate government/central bank policy. To developers it looked as though the demand was much higher than it really was, so they built, which in turn induced newcomers into the retail sector and existing retailers to expand their operations. Now the signals indicating people’s genuine spending power are coming through the whole thing appears to be a failure of ‘free markets’. But it’s not. It’s a failure of government-distorted markets, a failure of interventionism; it’s the reality that it’s impossible for a group of men to know what society wants, because society is 60 million people.
Lesson learned, then? Nope. Now people in taskforces, thinktanks and government departments are going to determine how much land is used for retail, housing etc (even more so than before), they’re going to take “radical action” and redesign town centres. But of course THESE guys will get it right. Because THEY know what’s best for everyone and what everyone wants.
Intellectuals, entirely lacking in humility and understanding of basic economics will continue with what they believe is the betterment of society, and in the not too distant future when society really goes to shit they’ll blame ‘free markets’; despite the fact that the very existence of their positions of power and influence within and over a government that controls the economy proves free markets don’t exist.