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Author Topic: The Great road race  (Read 4340 times)
Doom
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« on: December 09, 2012, 09:48:35 AM »

Ok I've been thinking about roads, streets, and sidewalks. And I'm wondering what other people think. I think in a transition from the current society to an Anarcho-Capitalism society there would be a great race to get hold of as many of the streets etc as possible. Just think of how much money you could make if you had a monopoly on the streets of NYC. You could charge people just to cross the street and charge as much as you like. They would have no choice but to pay. I mean what are they going to do spend the rest of their lives in startbucks ? Their going to have to come out some time and when they do BAM!!! Major toll Smiley

Not only that but my roads my rules. I could finely stop people riding bikes. I hate bikes.
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oooorgle
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« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2012, 01:19:21 PM »

My grocery store, my food. I don't sell eggs to people that hate bikes. Touche'
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State-God
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« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2012, 01:30:53 PM »

If somebody was able to get a monopoly on all the roads (and that's somewhat doubtful), somebody would build monorails 50 feet above them Tongue

Point is, there are ways to work around an asinine road-owner. The owner doesn't own the air ABOVE the road, and if the owner tried to instate ridiculous fees and rules other road owners would compete against them to cater to the consumer.

Also keep in mind that there is such a thing as collective property (ex. like joint stock companies). It's quite likely that, were an AnCap society to pop into existence today, roads would be collectively owned by the people living on them, with most (if not all) of them having a say in how the road should be cared for or if there should be a charge, etc etc.

And if we're talking about highways and whatnot, it's fairly easy to build another road to slip past the bad highway.

I'd suggest you read Walter Blocks "The Privatization of Roads and Highways". It's a good read.
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"[In a Socialist Commonwealth] the wheels will turn, but will run to no effect." - Ludwig von Mises
Doom
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« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2012, 03:51:54 PM »

My point while exaggerated is that the current freedom people enjoy on the streets of New York, or anywhere really, will ironically be reduced in an anarcho-capitalist society. Don't get my wrong. I'm a state hating Anarchist but if everything was privately owned you would only really be truly free on your own land.

There would have to be tolls everywhere because it wouldn't make any financial sense to buy a road or build a new one if it couldn't generate revenue. Every privately owned road where I live has a toll.

I'll have read of that thing you suggested. I have always had a problem with landowners and rent seeking because it add nothing to the economic. It's just a transfer of wealth from those that produce it to those that have the privilege of owning the land.
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Seth King
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« Reply #4 on: December 09, 2012, 04:26:25 PM »


There would have to be tolls everywhere because it wouldn't make any financial sense to buy a road or build a new one if it couldn't generate revenue.


You mean sort of like the internet?
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When are you moving to New Hampshire?
Doom
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« Reply #5 on: December 09, 2012, 08:44:11 PM »

You mean sort of like the internet?

The internet is an interesting example with lots of parallels. Both the internet and the road network where built by the government with tax payers money. I guess with the internet when it became mostly private users had become accustomed to a certain amount of freedom and a reasonably low cost.

It would have been difficult for the corporates to jack up prices and curb peoples freedom without losing business. I suppose the key is the number of firms involved.

If the govt packages up the road network into a couple of competing companies and then privatized them, then neither company could raise prices very high without losing business to the other.

And if the road companies charged users a flat monthly rate for using their network then they could avoid putting tolls everywhere and save money. They could issue some kind of disc for drivers to display in their cars and have people out on the roads checking to make sure everyone had paid up.

But the cost of building and maintaining roads is significantly higher than the cost to build and maintain a telecoms network so they'd have to charge lots more than the current monthly internet charges. I still think everyone would have to pay a substantial amount per month to use the roads. And a healthy level of competition would be key to avoid prices becoming punitive.
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State-God
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« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2012, 09:06:01 AM »

My point while exaggerated is that the current freedom people enjoy on the streets of New York, or anywhere really, will ironically be reduced in an anarcho-capitalist society. Don't get my wrong. I'm a state hating Anarchist but if everything was privately owned you would only really be truly free on your own land.

There would have to be tolls everywhere because it wouldn't make any financial sense to buy a road or build a new one if it couldn't generate revenue. Every privately owned road where I live has a toll.

I'll have read of that thing you suggested. I have always had a problem with landowners and rent seeking because it add nothing to the economic. It's just a transfer of wealth from those that produce it to those that have the privilege of owning the land.

Again, Doom, I don't think the loss of freedom would be very large. With the exception of large-scale hundred-mile highways, most roads would probably be owned by the people that lived next to them. The streets of New York, for example, would probably be owned by the homeowners, apartment tenants and business owners. Business owners especially have a keen incentive to keep roads open, as roads allow customers more easy access to their wares.

What I envision will happen, again, is most roads becoming community property (be it a community of business owners or of residents), with the various owners acting like part-time owners in joint-stock companies, all of them having a say in how the road should be maintained and who/what should/shouldn't be allowed.

Another possibility (as discussed in the Cities thread a few weeks back) is that entire cities may become owned by companies, whom rent out/sell land to interested buyers whilst maintaining sewage, road and electric services for a price. Basically, just like city governments are now.
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oooorgle
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« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2012, 09:32:03 AM »

I am amazed people struggle with this... A real sign of just how handicapped society expects us to be.
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BobRobertson
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« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2012, 09:47:21 AM »

I was very, VERY pleased with a talk by Vint Cerf I listened to over the weekend:

http://surprisinglyfree.com/2012/09/25/vint-cerf-on-u-n-regulation-of-the-internet/

In all modesty, Vint and I ran in many of the same circles through the 1990s, and were in the same room several times even though we didn't "meet".

To use my own words, it goes like this:

The Internet is not one network, it's a mass of private networks where those networks cooperate in order to maximize their own utility and profitability. No one will pay for service that doesn't reach the end-points they want to reach, be those endpoints servers or eyeballs.

Each individual who wants to connect pays their own way, at every level. I cannot count the number of times I had to fight some MBA type who wanted to "charge for peering". They thought I owed them money because I wanted to reach their servers. My reply was, in different words, "Fuck that, you pay ME so your servers can get seen by my customers! They can't reach you, they'll go somewhere else and you lose out." This is what happens when ambitious MBA types try to make a "revenue stream" out of everything. Assholes.

Anyway, back to roads.

What happened back when roads were almost all private? Businesses would fund roads in order to make it easier for customers to reach them, just as Google now pays enormous costs to put their servers as close (in the network meaning of the word) to the public peering points as they can.

Towns would cooperate to build roads between them to facilitate trade for everyone, making everyone more wealthy.

etc.

The principles of inclusion=wealth and exclusion=poverty that were identified in Adam Smith's "An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations" remain just as true today as they were in 1776.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 09:58:39 AM by BobRobertson » Logged
Doom
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« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2012, 11:36:37 AM »

I'm really glad I posted this now. The responses have really opened my mind. The comparison with the internet is beautiful. I guess the notion of everywhere being privately owned by someone else just made me feel uneasy. I still live with my folks and they constantly tell me that as long as I live under their roof I must abide by their rules. Is their any phrase more frustrating for any anarchist to hear. I guess the notion of not being able to walk down the street without the owner of the street trying charge be for the privilege or abide by some stupid rule of his really got to me.

But obviously that wouldn't happen. I mean I practically grew up hanging out at the mall and that's privately owned. It would be bad for business to take advantage of the power you have as an owner.

I guess what got to me most though is that the kind of nightmare, 1984 style, totalitarian system of control that I have often feared the state would one day impose, would still be theoretically possible (although extremely unlikely) under Anarchism, if one evil company gained a monopoly on all property.

Again I want to stress that I know for practical reasons there would never be a totalitarian anarchist regime but I always thought that it was also theoretically impossible. But if you think about it, you can have a society in which everyone abides by the NAP but yet you still have a totalitarian regime.

A property owner has absolute power over his property. So if one guy owned the world. One guy would have absolute power over the world. TOTALITARIAN-ANARCHISM. I always thought it was a paradox but at least in the land of the philosopher it seems possible.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 11:39:08 AM by Doom » Logged
State-God
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« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2012, 12:08:05 PM »

Possible? Yes.

Likely? No.

It is, of course, certainly possible that somebody could somehow take over the world via voluntary exchange, but the probability is something around one with several billions beneath it.

There may be, of course, large-scale property owners, but unless that individual/corporation/company provided the economy with cheaper, more high quality goods than their competitors an attempt at land-grabbing would quickly result in a cold-shoulder from society, with other property owners boycotting the transgressor alongside consumers and competitors working to out-compete them.

TL;DR The market will handle it Tongue

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BobRobertson
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« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2012, 10:16:28 AM »

The comparison with the internet is beautiful.

Awww, shucks. 'Tweren't nothin.

Quote
I still live with my folks and they constantly tell me that as long as I live under their roof I must abide by their rules. Is their any phrase more frustrating for any anarchist to hear.

That's a tough row to hoe, for sure. Conflict is a terrible thing. My family dealt with it a bit differently, it was stated openly that this was a cooperation where everyone has what they need to do, rather than my being the interloper.

There was also the clear understanding that at 18 I was on my own, unless I went on to college. Now it wasn't that cut-throat, my parents continued to fund me for about a year because they knew I was only relying on them until I could afford my own living expenses.

They never said "My house my rules". It was more, "You break it, you fix it."

If I may play the Internet Psychologist here, may I ask what prompted them to say "My House My Rules" with such extremity? Could it be that it was a heavy-handed way of trying to tell you that you were engaging in something they thought was self-destructive?

A family is a very difficult situation. You didn't choose to be there, and the parents cannot control the person you are becoming. This can create terrible frictions and disappointments on all sides that come out as anger at little things.

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But obviously that wouldn't happen. I mean I practically grew up hanging out at the mall and that's privately owned. It would be bad for business to take advantage of the power you have as an owner.

A mall is an excellent example of exactly what we "private property" types mean. So are hotels, industrial parks, even private schools.

The book "The Voluntary City" goes into what they call "the private provisioning of 'public' services" that you might enjoy. Let me find a link...

Cool, a Google search brings up lots of possibilities.

https://www.google.com/search?q=the+voluntary+city

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if one evil company gained a monopoly on all property.

I understand that dread. I've read plenty of fiction where just such things are posited.

But learning economics has helped me to overcome such fears. For example, without government support, how could such an evil company become so wealthy that it could buy up all property? Well, it would have to serve its customers better than anyone else to be so profitable. So the "evil corporate empire" turns out to be a contradiction, if people are free to choose not to use their products.

Simple Liberty is the answer that solves the problem of monopoly.

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A property owner has absolute power over his property. So if one guy owned the world. One guy would have absolute power over the world. TOTALITARIAN-ANARCHISM. I always thought it was a paradox but at least in the land of the philosopher it seems possible.

Without some way to coerce people, such a control freak is going to be very lonely.
« Last Edit: December 11, 2012, 10:20:37 AM by BobRobertson » Logged
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