[ExI] Serfdom and libertarian critiques (Was: Call to Libertarians)

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Sat Mar 5 14:46:51 UTC 2011

On Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 12:57 AM, BillK <pharos at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Fri, Mar 4, 2011 at 3:53 AM, Rafal Smigrodzki wrote:
>> ### Well, you don't need to have subsidies for zero-fare public
>> transportation - you only need accurate pricing of inputs and outputs.
>> If road owners charged by the square foot/hour of occupancy, with
>> supply/demand adjustment of prices on an hourly basis (i.e. congestion
>> pricing), and if there was free entry for the provision of private
>> means of mass transportation, you would have an efficient outcome.
>> What you describe is the result of municipal monopoly ownership of
>> roads and their mispricing, followed by
>> running-around-like-a-headless-chicken attempts to fix the resulting
>> problems. And yes, there are places like Singapore, or nowadays
>> London, which introduced congestion pricing - which works better than
>> subsidies even if it is imposed by an illegitimate, municipal rather
>> than private, authority. When you want things to actually work, the
>> economics narrative (price, supply, demand, incentive) always beats
>> the political narrative (Conservative scum, good Liberals).
> Seems it is more complicated than that. (Like real life often is).
> In London, over the last five years or so, congestion charging has had
> the desired effect of reducing the number of private cars entering the
> central zone.
> Initially traffic flow improved, but now the jams are back again, even
> with reduced traffic volume. Why has this happened?
> It turns out that there have been other 'improvements' implemented to
> benefit other users.
> 1) Cycle paths have been installed, reducing the road volume for motor vehicles.
> 2) Most traffic lights have had a pedestrian phase added, which stops
> all roads for a period while pedestrians cross.
> 3) Additional pedestrian controlled lights have been installed to
> allow pedestrians to cross roads with continual streams of traffic.
> So you would have to add pedestrian pricing into the scheme as well.
> As soon as anyone moves outside their house, on foot, cycle or car,
> the meter would have to start charging. That's a real communist
> society

### Well, again you have mispricing - a pedestrian can take resources
previously used by a driver (space/time on a road) and not pay for
them which encourages use and does not encourage work-arounds (raised
pedestrian walkways, crossings, underground car lanes, all the things
that an income maximizing owner would build to encourage users to

BTW - a communist society by definition would not "charge" for
anything - they wanted to actually abolish money itself, if you
remember you Marx reading. A pay-as-you-walk city would be the paragon
of the capitalist system, and I am of course all for it (imagine, no
homeless, no chavs in posh places, very clean sidewalks, etc. etc.)


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