Comment 34770

By LL (registered) - website | Posted October 13, 2009 at 23:36:49

A Smith: you're arguing against consumer choice and in favour of perhaps the most heavily subsidized technological system for civilians the world has ever seen: mass motoring. And that doesn't even take into account the externalities like the health bill for traffic accidents and(which is what European motorists pay for with the higher taxes).

Look at the history. The "socio-technical mix" of mass motoring and suburbia didn't come about through an aggregate of individual choices. It was planned, centrally, top down. Without the federally planned and funded highway systems, plus subsidized mortgage commissions (which your supposedly Olympian capitalists asked for), it never would have happened.

You say price price all roads privately. Fair enough. But nobody is going to do that. Nobody's in favour of it: not rich people, not poor people. No one has a material interest in that. So in the meantime, in the real world of civic affairs, where bike lanes are quite likely and privatized roads are virtually impossible, you're working against the freedom of consumers to choose how they want to travel.

I'll ask you directly. If you really value consumer choice in the market, don't you think you should call for an end to the huge subsidies to mass motoring first, instead of railing against a tiny subsidy to people who want to bike? Motoring gets the bigger subsidy, yet you do nothing to oppose it. Don't you think you're being inconsistent with your own professed ideology?

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