Privatize the highways. And every other road, too.
Unfinished roads around the country suggest that perhaps the private sector is better suited to complete projects
(Page 2 of 2)
While it could be argued that public highways benefit an entire area, should those who decide against using the highway and its related infrastructure be forced to pay for it? This is perhaps the largest flaw in any argument favoring the public completion of Route 219 — using public funds to finish a highway that each member of the public has not directly consented to is coercion.Skip to next paragraph
This is the institutional blog of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and many of its affiliated writers and scholars commenting on economic affairs of the day.
Subscribe Today to the Monitor
The state is not some kind of benevolent deity that reaches out from Harrisburg or Washington and grants the public its own highways; the state must fund its creations, and because the state cannot create wealth, it must forcibly take this wealth from the populace.
Everyone wants to live at the expense of the state. They forget that the state wants to live at the expense of everyone.
A private system would remove this moral dilemma by not requiring funding from all individuals in a community. The private sector has proven to be magnificently creative in ways to fund new initiatives. With the emergence of the "information superhighway," we have seen new ways to provide funding for private services without necessarily charging tolls or collecting sweeping taxes. The Internet has shown that many private services can appear to be zero price for many consumers; it would be foolish to believe that other markets may not work in the same manner.
To assume beforehand that the private sector will provide a service in one specific way would overlook the ingenuity of the free market. But one thing is for sure: the free market would not force consumers who do not wish to use the product to pay for it.
The call for highway privatization may seem radical, but it is not. Several major highways across the United States are privately owned, including the Chicago Skyway and the Dulles Greenway. Economist Walter Block wrote in his book The Privatization of Roads and Highways that "we must realize that just because the government has always built and managed the roadway network, this is not necessarily inevitable, the most efficient procedure, nor even justifiable."
We should not look to the government to save us from its own failed projects; instead we should look to the private sector. Government-sponsored monopolies should be abolished where they seem to be most integral to our society, which starts with areas like the highways.
The Christian Science Monitor has assembled a diverse group of the best economy-related bloggers out there. Our guest bloggers are not employed or directed by the Monitor and the views expressed are the bloggers' own, as is responsibility for the content of their blogs. To contact us about a blogger, click here. To add or view a comment on a guest blog, please go to the blogger's own site by clicking on the link above.