To paint a church


If Wall Street is the mainstay of pecuniary transactions, then the church (of the denomination your choice) is that of social welfare. Still- even centers of voluntary good works have needs that are best served in private markets. One of those is the maintenance and upkeep of their assembly halls.

The photo above is an example of a spectacular building whose beauty requires regular and costly upkeep. For that reason, from what I hear, the parishioners have considered replacing it with a more modern structure. This in turn upset some local folks in this town of 4500 people who can’t bear the thought of it being leveled.

To model this scenario let’s consider what is public and what is private. Though the church owns this fine house of worship privately, other townsmen and women feel that its historical value is public to their community. But there are others who could have a public interest in this beautiful building beyond the valley in which it is nestled in. There are enthusiasts of architecture and enthusiasts of Catholicism and enthusiasts of the American frontier. The preservation of this structure undoubtedly has support beyond what is obvious.

The traditional method of holding onto vintage buildings is to create historic districts. This lays the ongoing expense at the doorstep of the party who holds it in private ownership. And these districts often depress the market value of the parcels as restrictions are not market friendly. In other words, to take what should be traded in the public sphere and force those desires into the private market is inefficient.

It would make more sense if the ‘publics’ who have an interest in this building had a structural option to support the maintenance. Since they are the ones who appreciate the value of preservation, they are the most likely to voluntarily support such activities. And due to this, resources will find their way to projects most suited to consumers intentions.