John, the kind of control you’re attempting simply is … it’s not possible. If there is one thing the history of economics has taught us it’s that the entrepreneurial spirit will not be contained. It breaks free, it expands to new territories and crashes through barriers, painfully, maybe even dangerously, but …. Well, there it is. Entrepreneurs find a way. — The Locker Room 10/8/14, paraphrasing Dr. Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) from “Jurassic Park”

I wrote that about how Canadians weren’t allowing themselves to be red-taped out of getting their oil-sands crude to willing buyers. I could just as easily write about number of areas in which entrepreneurs, doing what the human spirit does, finds ways around arbitrary, meddlesome government regulations and roadblocks (Uber and Lyft come to mind, as do Airbnb, teeth-whitening services, etc.).

I am writing it about this. From London, where there are apparently very strict rules regulating the height of homes:

In London’s most upmarket districts, shovel-wielding teams are hard at work in what look like mines hidden beneath luxury homes, sidestepping the British capital’s planning rules by expanding underground. …

Permit applications for this type of work have soared: in 2013, Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall received 450 compared to just 20 a decade ago.

“We’re talking about two or three floors down and extending beyond the boundaries of the garden. It can sometimes go under the road,” complained Murad Qureshi, a Labour member of the London Assembly, the elected body that holds the London mayor to account.

Often the new spaces house luxurious marble swimming pools, home theatres or garages for classic cars. …
Walking through the neighbourhood where they have lived since childhood, they despairingly pointed out each construction site.

It is rare to find a street without them.


jurassic snark