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Scott Cummings' Essays with Critical Responses

The two articles reflect the drawbacks on both sides of the eager rush of private business from its old centers with their high taxes and heavy unionization to the lightly regulated Sunbelt states. Both cases provide ample demonstration of the need for greater regulation and the shortcomings of allowing businesses too much leeway in setting their own agendas.

In his study of the social costs of Houston's boom era Feagin details the effects of lax regulation, weak government and very low taxes on the city as a whole. The local government leaders had long held the view that a wide-open, free enterprise kind of town automatically minimizes some urban ills such as poverty because it attracts business at a level that keeps employment up. But the cooperation between local business elites and government to attract further investment meant that they worked to keep taxes extremely low. Thus local businesses did not make even the most reasonable kinds of demands for services, as they would have in any ordinary situation. The city was acclaimed for its fiscal conservatism and did attract an incredible level of growth between the 1950s and the early 1980s. But this came at the cost of very limited city services, and a crumbling infrastructure of unrepaired streets, inadequate water and sewage systems, and police and fire departments incapable of meeting demand. In addition, lax regulation and semi-private control resulted in serious problems with toxic waste disposal and pollution. Houston provides a primer on how uncontrolled private investment creates urban problems. In the Houston of the 1980s the private sector could find most of the urban ills it claimed to want to escape in moving there. But Feagin concluded that they would be unwilling to pay the massive tax increases that would be needed to control these problems. Instead they would most likely deplore the situation and move elsewhere.

Hill and Indergaard describe the ove...

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Scott Cummings' Essays with Critical Responses. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 11:27, August 17, 2017, from
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