Once again: the roads, the railways

An unchanging issue of complaint about #voluntarism / #anarchism / # Libertarianism concentrates on “the market’s inability” to provide for services we all, like (drum roll, please) roads. At least, I seem to think it is the unchanging issue , because this isn’t the first time I write about it.

When there exists demand for a good or service, and no state to impose arbitrary limitations on it, then market entrepreneurs will seek to provide it, affordably. So when there is demand for a road (e.g.  from a housing community to the rest of the world), the property developer will somehow see to it that the road will be built, in order to be able to sell the houses. That is not saying that he will pay for the road all by himself, but maybe he will combine finances with the developer of the housing community further up on… the road. Or with shops or businesses nearby, or whatever.

“But that puny little access-road is nothing compared to the major highway system we have today!” And which is very poorly maintained, expanded upon demand, by the state, btw. So don’t give me the line “without the state nobody would build / maintain roads”, because the state can barely be said to do so. If only because the state is a private institution that lets all its policies / actions be guided by the personal desires of the ruling politicians. Some of which can be decidedly unfriendly to the environment, those parties would be the green ones. From their instinctive desire to oppose private transportation, decrying it for being so bad for the environment, and relentlessly pushing for people to use public transport which is supposedly better for the environment (running empty trains from empty train station to empty, overly-lit train station, is obviously so much better for the environment than driving a car from where you are to where you have to be – something no train will ever be able to accomplish, unless the entire country lives near the train station and works near another train station).

There are so many ways in which true privatization of the transportation system would help the environment so much!

There is the study by the Belgian Motorcyclists Federation thst demonstrated that if everybody would switch to motorcycles or motorscooters, the traffic jams would reduce by 40%. If an environmentally/socially engaged private owner of a road would encourage motorcyclism on his roads, by making the road particularly safe for them and/or by reducing prices – which can be justified by the lower weight of motorcycles, (less than even only the battery pack of a BMW I3), causing less wear on the road.

Find the study (written in Dutch) here: http://www.fmb-bmb.be/nl/content/motor-en-scooter-40-minder-fileleed

– One way of making the roads safer for #motorcyclists is by not making many #roundabouts on them.

– One way of reducing cost is by not operating #stopLights on cross roads, which consume #electricity day and night, (regardless of traffic), electricity costs money making the stop lights bad for the environment, even before you include all the stopping and starting that cars do (causing more emissions), bunching them up and impairing traffic flow, making it more difficult for pedestrians to safely cross the road, further along. So stop lights are not just bad for the environment, but also for traffic safety (which, according to the statistics is helped by #trafficLights, but those statistics probably do not include accidents that happened a few miles past the cross roads).

– If not round abouts or #trafficLights, then what? Well, perhaps a road designer would manage to design the road in such a way,  that they would be unnecessary. Or, if unavoidable, the stop lights would not be tuned to keeping cars waiting for traffic that does not exist, which costs needless time and money to the drivers, and wastes energy. Making the road less desirable to travel on, meaning it will be less travelled, resulting in less revenue for the road owner, so that road builder/designer will be stimulated to make the experience as pleasant as possible.
This would be another way in which the market out-greens the state, which is nothing more than an institution that is unable to offer any goods, the state can only ever offer bads, like traffic jams, wars, prisons.

Also, transportation is just another avenue by which the government is trying to control our behaviour, which is the inverse of #democratic. In a proper #democracy – as we’re taught in givernment schools – the people – demos – have the power – cratos. Now the government exercises power over the people.
If you wanted an example of a highway system that is not government operated, but functions very well: the French toll roads (autoroutes péage). Originally, the toll meant that French car owners did not have to pay road tax, because the toll roads yielded enough income. This means that the government is not capable of controlling our behaviour.

Tolwegen (Autoroute-Péage) in Frankrijk

The péages were privatized in 2006, and are still operational. That quite closes the lid on this complaint, doesn’t it?
Lest I forget: trains always stop at a train station, regardless of whether any passengers want to get on or off the train, they stop and start off again, consuming heaps of electricity,  it “s inpossible for trains to be good for the environment (to not waste any electricity by not stopping and starting withiut passengers), because the single railway that carries trains going both ways, cannot handle when trains varty theur wait time too much by stations. Multiple parallel railway lines are not really a solution, because there remains the inflexibility of a train not being able to cross over to a different line in the face of oncoming traffic.
It all comes down to the worn phrase bandied about in Dutch politics: “the polluter pays”, which always meant that there were no attempts to reduce pollution, only to make citizes pay more. In the system I propose, not only will the polluter pay, but the payer will also pollute less.


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I am an author & an anarcharchist

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