Now Library Fines are a Social Injustice

Source: Bacon’s Rebellion

My thoughts on library fines are about the same as the writer’s: It doesn’t sound like a good idea to stop charging them, but I’m in favor of experimentation to see what works best.

More generally, I’m inclined to think of libraries as a legitimate public expense. They meet the definition of a public good in economics, being both non-excludable and non-rivalrous. That is to say, everyone may use the library, and each individual’s use of it causes no subtraction from any other individual’s use of it (generally speaking).

To the extent that fines cause overdue materials never to be returned, this introduces rivalry of access in a system that shouldn’t have it. Perhaps some other kind of penalty can be designed.

2 thoughts on “Now Library Fines are a Social Injustice

  1. To sell ideas, ever notice that these things always have a racial connotation to them about being “unfair” to the “most vulnerable” who just so happen to be minorities? Stoney is outright oozing with pandering. What’s next, traffic fines and jail terms are injustices for minorities too? If fines are unfair somehow, they are unfair for everyone. Convincing us of that and not just for “minorities”.


    1. …”“disproportionately affected low-income, African American and Hispanic communities.”” I don’t see this the same way. Punctuation is important. It covers more than just minorities. Do you NEED them to say WHITE to make you feel better?


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