Coercion is a dirty word to most liberals now, but it need notforever be so. As with the four-letter words, its dirtiness canbe cleansed away by exposure to the light, by saying it over andover without apology or embarrassment. To many, the word coercionimplies arbitrary decisions of distant and irresponsiblebureaucrats; but this is not a necessary part of its meaning. Theonly kind of coercion I recommend is mutual coercion, mutuallyagreed upon by the majority of the people affected.
"Indeed, the process has been so widely commented uponthat one writer postulated a common life cycle for all of theattempts to develop regulatory policies. The life cycle islaunched by an outcry so widespread and demanding that itgenerates enough political force to bring about establishment ofa regulatory agency to insure the equitable, just, and rationaldistribution of the advantages among all holders of interest inthe commons. This phase is followed by the symbolic reassuranceof the offended as the agency goes into operation, developing aperiod of political quiescence among the great majority of thosewho hold a general but unorganized interest in the commons. Oncethis political quiescence has developed, the highly organized andspecifically interested groups who wish to make incursions intothe commons bring sufficient pressure to bear through otherpolitical processes to convert the agency to the protection andfurthering of their interests. In the last phase even staffing ofthe regulating agency is accomplished by drawing the agencyadministrators from the ranks of the regulated." [p.p.60-61]
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A simple incident that occurred a few years ago in Leominster,Massachusetts shows how perishable the knowledge is. During theChristmas shopping season the parking meters downtown werecovered with plastic bags that bore tags reading: "Do notopen until after Christmas. Free parking courtesy of the mayorand city council." In other words, facing the prospect of anincreased demand for already scarce space, the city fathersreinstituted the system of the commons. (Cynically, we suspectthat they gained more votes than they lost by this retrogressiveact.)