Apparently, not only can the free market help ease congestion on the roads, but its proving to be a more efficient way to repair them as well. Fast-food chain KFC recently offered to fill the potholes of various cities for free, as long as they get to stencil a non-permanent logo over the patch that says “Re-Freshed by KFC.”
This is another perfect example of the free market working to fix problems that most people think only government can solve. The market constantly evolves new and interesting ways to solve problems, as evidenced by KFC’s pothole plan. If their plan is accepted by enough cities, other companies will want in on the action too. Private companies may start taking over all sorts of public goods problems.
This is an elegant way to solve an apparently tough public goods problem. Many major cities have serious problems with potholes. Now, instead of passing that problem off to government workers, who have no incentive to get quality work done quickly and efficiently; the free market has a way to let private business take some of the workload. Private companies have an incentive to be quick, efficient, and to produce quality work, since their logo will be associated with the patch. All of that, plus at zero cost to private citizens.
But sadly, Chicago’s city officials had a typically “governmental” view of the plan… Brian Steele, a spokesman for the Chicago Department of Transportation, said “We don’t allow any type of printing or advertising placed on a city street or sidewalk.”
Let’s hope other cities have a more enlightened view of the situation.