Excellent post, John. I think I find myself straddled between the smart boosters and doomsters.

I am certain that there is a great deal of growth up for grabs, particularly given how many regions are behind economic growth 'frontiers'. I.e. less productive regions can borrow productivity growth methods from other regions that first invented technologies, or found efficiencies before everyone else.

But on the other hand, there are fundamental reasons these gaps exist. Demographics and political structures that are stacked against reform are the source of my doomsterist streak, not the lack of available growth opportunity.

It is cracking this nut - through quietly and subtlety reforming the incentive structures of these problem areas in fundamental ways - that will lead to the victory of growth, and the victory of the boosters over the doomsters.

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Where was the entrenched opposition to allowing people to add new storeys to their homes by right? Yes people were busy worrying about COVID at the time, but the change to permitted development went through with little fanfare. The key to planning reform seems to be doing it in a way that focuses the benefits on existing homeowners.

So accessory dwelling units and mansard roofs. Later maybe we can put it on a proper statutory footing and gradually create a proper zoning system...


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