A typical shopping mall parking lot starts off empty, and drivers navigate to the best parking spot of their choosing. If they get there early, they get the spot right in front of the door.
If they don’t, they get the spot all the way at the back and have to walk for miles.
If they are lucky enough to be driving past a sweet spot that someone is coming out of, they got lucky – and can seize it.
Left uninhibited, most parking lots will function fine. The average driver is capable enough to navigate through the parking lot and use it efficiently without any external guidance.
However, every now and then there is that douchebag that parks in two spaces in a completely jammed parking lot.
There is that annoying driver that decided to mess around and ends up bumping someone else, and causes a traffic jam.
There is that very heavy traffic day, where many drivers are agitated and need to get somewhere quickly – which causes everybody to get where they are going slowly.
In those situations, you need a traffic cop (i.e. regulator).
However, if you had many traffic cops directing traffic into and out of every parking space, traffic would slow to a crawl most of the time – because you know those moments when he tells you to go right, but you thought he said left and you have to now reverse and go back right, but then he had told you to just continue going left and there is that few seconds of uncertainty on both parts about what to do…those moments would be multiplied many times by the number of drivers and traffic cops.
So while free market capitalism has ushered in significant advancements in medicine, technology, standard of living, etc., every now and then it needs a traffic cop.
For those douchebag drivers…not you, of course.
P.S. Image courtesy of Alex92287 on Flickr.