Fw: "IT" is finally unveiled

Russell Turpin deafbox@hotmail.com
Mon, 03 Dec 2001 17:55:07 +0000


Antoun Nabhan <antoun@incellico.com>
>A lot of this is a regulatory issue - two-wheeled vehicles would be safer 
>on the street if there were more of them and fewer cars, so that people 
>were calibrated to look out for and occasionally yield to such things. ..

Momentum and infrastructure frictions between different
modes of travel are some of the larger external costs a
city imposes when it builds out its infrastructure. In
most cities, there are many destinations that would be in
walking or bicycling distance, but where automobile
traffic and the infrastructure that supports it makes
these other modes of travel impractical or suicidal. And
deaths do result because of this.

The hard libertarian argues that these externalities get
resolved by the market if roads are privatized. The
problem with this theory is that the existence of public
routes predates ANY would-be owner who might make a
legitimate claim to these routes, or any arbiter that
might resolve the matter. Before there was a city here,
before there was anyone wanting to claim the land as
theirs, there were first people walking through it. [1]
There is an inevitable element of public policy in the
decisions about how to control travel, and how to build
and modify routes.

Note:

[1] I've read a paper that argues that hunters follow
animal trails, and that many of the North American Indian
trails that were later extended by Spanish and English
settlers likely existed before *any* human arrived in the
continent. I'm not going to argue that mammoths or
glyptodonts have property rights, especially since they
no longer exist. But I do find it interesting that
physical routing infrastructure not only predates anyone
with an ownership interest in the property, but possibly
even the arrival of the first people who started using
it.

Russell


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