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Collective action problems


This story about the conflicts among residents and the condo board at Champlain Towers South as a report indicated that major repairs were needed to maintain the structural integrity of the building will be familiar to many people who have lived in condos or co-ops, only with much grimmer consequences. Here’s perhaps the most relevant part of the story:

Steve Rosenthal, 72, a restaurant advertising executive, went to the gym in the building nearly every day. Afterward, he would stop at the pool, where he could see a crack on a third-floor balcony that he described as “atrocious.” But he called the $135,000 assessment on his condo, a corner unit with double balconies, a “second mortgage.”

“It’s an upscale building, but it’s not the Ritz or the Four Seasons,” he said. “The people that live there aren’t Rockefellers or Rothschilds. We’re upper middle class, I guess, and a lot of us are retired.”

When a neighbor knocked on his door, 705, with a petition against the assessment, Mr. Rosenthal signed it. The first payment was due on July 1.

“This seems bad, but I’m not going to pay to do anything about it” is the position of too many American voters toward climate change in general, and here we are.

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