Monday, 11 April 2011

The Curious Case of the Toys at Meadow Lane Park

There's a park near our house that is filled with lots of plastic outdoor toys, many of them quite expensive to buy new.  The interesting phenomenon is that they're just left there, and don't seem to get stolen, or if they do get stolen, the rate of new arrivals appears to far exceed the rate of departing toys. 

This fascinates me. I like to interpret it as evidence that communities can share without turning greedy, and even a hopeful sign that private property isn't as integral to a functioning society as we typically assume. But my panglossian take on this has suffered a blow recently. I've talked to some who deem the park's trove of toys an eyesore and argue that it's just become a de facto refuse dump for those unwilling to dispose of their old unused toys properly. I don't think it's quite as bad as all that, such toys aren't so hard to get rid of, we've had some and put them by the side of the road and had them snapped up quickly, i.e., people are perfectly happy to take such toys if they're offered up. So, I'd like to think that it really is a positive indicator of human decency and willingness to share.

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