The Economist has a report on doing business in America, “Red Tape and Scissors,” citing to the Gridlock Economy.

In the book, I talk primarily about how gridlock inadvertently blocks innovation and growth.  Sometimes, however, people deliberately create gridlock to achieve other social ends, such as environmental conservation.  Here’s an example send to me by two alert readers, Jim Wuorio and William Murphy.  (Thanks for the tips and keep them coming!)  According to the Times of London story:

Greenpeace has bought a field the size of a football pitch and plans to invite protesters to dig networks of tunnels across it, similar to those built in the ultimately unsuccessful campaign against the Newbury bypass in 1996. The group also plans to divide the field into thousands of tiny plots, each with a separate owner.   BAA, the airport’s owner, would be forced to negotiate with each owner, lengthening the compulsory purchase process.

And describes how the “AirPlot” works:

The gist is this: amazingly, and the Heathrow planners must be wondering how this slipped by unnoticed, Greenpeace have been able to buy up a small piece of land, about half the size of a football pitch, in the middle of the proposed third runway site. They are now appealing to the general public to add their names to the ‘Legal Deed of Trust’ as ‘beneficial owners’. All you have to do is go to the Greenpeace website and sign up.

Kudos to the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences for its great-looking new online newsletter.  Their first issue spotlights “The Gridlock Economy.”  For the story, click here.   I love CASBS — I conceived of, and started writing, The Gridlock Economy while a fellow at the Center in 2004-05.  I can’t imagine a better experience for a scholar than to spend a year at CASBS.

Thanks to Michael Morris for spotting this great example of a gridlock solution in a post at Gizmodo:

Panasonic, Sony and Philips are spinning off Blu-ray licensing into a single company, which for us, the real people, means we should be seeing Blu-ray prices take another tumble downward.  That’s because the costs of licenses for people to make Blu-ray stuff will drop as much as 40 percent, since manufacturers won’t have to talk to all three companies to get the rights.

Best Gridlock Cartoon yet

February 24, 2009

Here’s the best gridlock cartoon yet, from the New Yorker.  (Thanks to John Schmitt for the tip.)


The editors over at the wonderful blog, Freakonomics, picked the cover of “The Gridlock Economy” as one of the most evocative of 2008.   Here’s their post.

Former President Bill Clinton recommends “The Gridlock Economy” as one of the key books to read to understand the current economic crisis.  His endorsement appears at DailyBeast.