This post is a platform for the continuation of a debate that was getting buried in the comment box of the most recent installment of NIMBY's Corner, in which one of our gentle readers challenged the blogo-spirits that animate HPP to come out of the Matrix and do some organizing. This is a topic that's been on the back burner for a while, but now deserves to be put up front and served up.
How do neighborhood politics work in Hyde Park? How should they work? How can they work? Is the common tactic of filling rooms with warm bodies at community meetings -- highlighted most recently in the controversy over the Children's Museum in Grant Park -- the way democracy works at the neighborhood level? Or is is a function of an absence of leadership on the part of the Alderman? Is there a reason that the folks with the bad ideas organize most effectively?
We think so: it's a rule of trade politics that those whose interests are most directly threatened, have the most interest in organizing for tariffs and trade protection. Even though this hurts an economy in general, the effects are diffused across a majority that has less direct incentive to organize. The result: the interests of the few become policy for the many.
Is something similar going on in Hyde Park? Are the organized "protectionist" lobbies raising the costs of living for the majority of unorganized consumers? If so, how to correct this, in light of the much more challenging task of organizing a diffuse interest group?
The floor is open for comments.