A few days ago, I blogged from the Mall of America and asked whether it is “the most bourgeois place on Earth.” One commenter pointed out that it’s subsidized and actually policed by the Bloomington PD. Neither really surprise me as it’s a pretty huge place, and it’s frustrating that almost everything one likes can, in just a few short steps, be traced back to the iron fist of the state. It’s like playing “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” but instead of Kevin Bacon you’re searching for state involvement.

But here’s a brighter way to look at it. There’s no obvious market failure fixed by subsidies for malls, stadiums, etc., so pretty much all of these subsidies are distortionary. The awesomeness of commercial modernity, therefore, is a lower bound on how awesome life would be with less state meddling.