Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Dousing Your Freedom

The Journal Times weighed in, sort of, on a battle brewing over a "Department of Commerce proposal that would require sprinkler systems in condos and apartment buildings with at least three dwelling units." The JT conclusion, of sorts, is "The people of Wisconsin deserve first class fire protection for their dwellings, but it should be done in the most cost-effective way, one that balances saving lives and saving livelihoods."

Well duh! But they have dodged the question of whether requiring sprinklers would be the most cost-effective way to balance lives saved and livelihoods saved.

The answer should be to keep our present arrangement, wherin these decisions are made by builders, owners, and renters. It is they, rather than government bureaucrats, who have the information needed to make the wisest decision.

My suggestion is that any lawmaker who wishes to vote in favor of this requirement should first be required to retro-fit his/her home with a sprinkler system. Only then will they have some understanding of the costs that they wish to impose on others.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Denis, your answer is definitely the wrong answer. Government needs to step in when private industry can't police themselves. I've lived in 2 of the 3 major apartment complexes downtown, and i can personally attest to the fact that they ALL suck. Super cheap construction, problematic building materials, non-existent maintenance, insanely high rents, the list keeps going. All 3 have an amazingly high vacancy rate because when folks move in, they quickly discover they need to move right back out.

Government needs to step in because private industry is greedy and is only concerned with maximizing profits...speaking of profits, on a side note, you should see "Iraq for Sale" this documentary is the reality of the Iraq war and not what the Bush administration wants us to believe.

Denis Navratil said...

To anonymous: The vast majority of people, even very wealthy people, do not equip their homes with sprinkler systems. But they are wrong and you are right. Do you have a sprinkler system in your home? My guess is that like the vast majority of people, you do not. But you favor laws that would impose those costs on others. Why?

Now on to your other points. Your move from apartment complexes that "suck" to a residence that presumably does not suck suggests that you are a market driven consumer, though you prefer to limit that freedom for others. Again, why? Apparently the places that you moved from do not suck so much as they are able to charge the "insanely high rents" that you cite. But if you are correct, and people did not want to pay for these places, then they would move out, and the owners would have to make the needed changes in order to lure customers. Eventually, the cost of rent would equal the amount people are willing to pay. In other words, the market works!

Wade said...

Anon did a fine job of explaining exactly why Gov't does not need to police private industry. Private industry is policed by the consumer.

Anonymous said...

Are you actually equating a house with an apartment?
A house has one family, one kitchen, and maybe a fire place. An apartment has one family, one kitchen and maybe a fire place for EACH unit. As well as more of all the other potential fire starting activity, candles, irons, fans, Christmas trees…etc
There is a greater density of people, fewer means of egress, and more human activity,
You can control or at least be aware of the dangers in your own house but that is not true in an apartment.
That is why a higher standard is need.

Anonymous said...

anon, you're exactly right. its comparing apples to oranges. You cant compare single family homes to multi-unit dwellings. Developers's main concern is generally not safety, its profits. Another perfect example is the mess we're in now. The world's first privatized war left to be run by private industry, has that been a success?