Government begets more government

This post at the Pretense of Knowledge blog points to New York Times article that is yet another (frustrating) demonstration of how government leads to more government.

In this case, the initial government interference includes the complex zoning requirements, large fees for business permits and long turnaround times for the city to approve new businesses.  All these create costs that make investors less likely to try to open a new business there.

Over time this creates a problem as the city doesn’t have many small and unique shops. But, rather than just fixing the barriers to entry caused by the previous government actions, they just propose another action to make it appear like they are trying to solve the problem.  In this case, the mayor proposes $1.5 million to help fund small businesses.

The video below does a nice job of illustrating the frustrating planning requirements.  I recommend watching it.

In the video, the aspiring business owner wants to open a simple ice cream shop in a vacant location.  She’s not asking for money.  Why not make it easy for her to give it a go?

They have a hard time determining how to classify her ice cream shop (full service or fast food?) and tangle over whether her employees will be able to deliver the food to the table (if delivered to the table it’s full service).  That doesn’t sound like a city that is serious about attracting new and unique businesses.

Products and Enhancements

Food. Thanks to ice cream companies for putting the dollar cups in the store.  That’s a nice alternative to the half gallon and to the ice cream shop.  It’s enough to quench the desire for ice cream, without having a half gallon sitting around beckoning me to eat it every night.  It’s cheaper than the ice cream shops that are seemed designed to get about $3 – $5 per person.

It would be amazing if someone could come up with a nut that wouldn’t bother folks who are allergic to nuts.  I’ve hear of crazier things. Or maybe someone can process soynuts in a facility that doesn’t also process peanuts.

It’d be nice to have more breakfast cereals with more protein.

E-mail. I like a button that could alphabetize the distribution list.  I find it easier to locate old e-mails if I alphabetize the distribution list.

I really like the Zemanta add-in for blogging that recommends tags, photos (it’s responsible for the some of the images you’ve been seeing on this blog lately) related articles and links.  It would be nice to have a similar feature in e-mail, that also would recommend subject titles. Tags would be a nice way to organize e-mails.

I’d like e-mail messages to be more like message strings on blogs or online forums.  Once a discussion in gmail gets to be 3 or 4 messages deep, it gets messy and confusing to manage.  I think it would be nice if the e-mail was structured more like a blog post with a comment section.  You could reply to specific comments throughout the thread or reply to the original post and it would all be laid out nicely in one string without repeated text (unless someone quoted specific sections).

Blogs. I’d like blogs to be more like Facebook so it would be easier to build networks with other bloggers and commenters. You can kind of do what you need in a reader, like Google Reader, but that doesn’t as easily facilitate 2-way or multiple way discussions like Facebook and it’s not quite as easy to use.  Blogbook could be almost exactly like Facebook.

Google docs. Screencasts would be a nice addition to the documents, spreadsheets, presentations, drawings and forms that are already available.

If any of this already exists, please let me know.

Thanks to Forbes.com for a much improved website.  It could still use some work, but much better than before.