Friday, Aug. 19, 2011 | 2:01 a.m.
The saga of the rise and apparently imminent fall of the Harmon Hotel should serve as a cautionary tale to all who take it as gospel that the private sector is a perfectly efficient means of allocating capital. Regardless of who is at fault, the collective errors of the market-driven forces that drove the Harmon will have poured about $300 million into a project that most likely will end up a heap of rubble without serving any economic purpose at all.
For contrast, drive down U.S. 93 about 35 miles and see what the public sector managed to do at constructing and operating Hoover Dam.
It is startling that so many Nevadans, facing such a stark contrast between private-sector incompetence and government efficiency, can buy into the belief that government is inherently wasteful and the private sector can do no wrong.
If we are to thrive going forward, we need to acknowledge that neither has a monopoly on either productive or wasteful management practices.