By Tim Redmond

Michael Yarne, a developer, former mayoral advisor and advocate for increased housing construction in San Francisco, has a metaphor for what economists call The Market: It is, he told a forum this site helped sponsor Nov. 7, a river: You can’t fight its flow, and if you don’t learn to swim in it, you’re going to drown.

Now: I have often said that ecology and economics have a lot in common, starting with the fact that nobody really understands either one. But there’s a big difference – and when we talk about the San Francisco housing market, it’s a critical one.

A river is a natural system. When humans mess with it, they tend to screw it up. The economy – for example, the housing market in San Francisco – is an artificial construct, something humans developed to solve the essential problem of who gets what and how. We created the housing market, and we can change it; in fact, we can control it. The economy works for us; we don’t work for it.

And in this case, the only way to make the market work is to strictly regulate it. (more after the jump)