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There are many things the government could do more efficiently. The government wastes a HUGE amount of money trying criminals in court. It would be eminently practical to execute all suspected criminals on the spot. No criminal trials to conduct; no public defenders to appoint; fewer people conscripted into jury service; zero jail and prison costs; and of course, far, far fewer criminals on the streets. It would have a great deterrent effect too.

The moment you sacrifice your ideals to 'efficiency,' you are on the path to fascism.

Just because you find it difficult to figure out how to do roads privately doesn't change the fact that you must do roads privately if you want a government that protects individual rights.

~Q

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There are many things the government could do more efficiently. The government wastes a HUGE amount of money trying criminals in court. It would be eminently practical to execute all suspected criminals on the spot. No criminal trials to conduct; no public defenders to appoint; fewer people conscripted into jury service; zero jail and prison costs; and of course, far, far fewer criminals on the streets. It would have a great deterrent effect too.

The moment you sacrifice your ideals to 'efficiency,' you are on the path to fascism.

Just because you find it difficult to figure out how to do roads privately doesn't change the fact that you must do roads privately if you want a government that protects individual rights.

~Q

Kind of like the old Ben Franklin qoute about safety and security, huh?

I don't have any sort of clue as to how privatization of highways would work, but that doesnt mean it can't.

Personally, I would like to see the post office privatized, the FAA privatized, and FEMA, ATF, IRS, Department of education and the FDIC eleminated first before going as far as road privatization.

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Kind of like the old Ben Franklin qoute about safety and security, huh?

I don't have any sort of clue as to how privatization of highways would work, but that doesnt mean it can't.

Indeed. At one time railroads were privately capitalized, owned and operated. What is the essential difference between a limited access highway and a railroad?

ruveyn

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But with something like roads, I think that the jurisdiction of fed state and local goverments would probably be more practical. I am trying to put efficiency above ideological purity, [...]

I'm confused: to me when you say more practical I think you mean more efficient and as someone else pointed out when you put efficiency above ideological purity you get neither. To see the error you should try to concretize this: think of sacrificing your ideas about, say, murder.

There is no conflict between the moral and the practical. The moral is the practical.

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Texas Libertarian, sorry for getting back to this so late but I'd just like to throw my 2 cents in with the others in response to your comments on the necessity of roads to Justice and civil defence. In my mind the reason it didn't hold up is that the civil defence of the nation and the judiciary can and must do their duty even in the absence of roads, that is to say that roads do not have to be present in order for litigation or defence of the nation to take place.

So what would be done with all the publicly owned roads we have now? Who would own them, how would that ownership be established?

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So what would be done with all the publicly owned roads we have now? Who would own them, how would that ownership be established?

How about everybody is given deed to the road directly in front of their property and become responsible for its upkeep like you already are for the sidewalk in front of your home or business now under threat of lawsuit for negligence if it isn't maintained.

Major highways could all simply become tollroads.

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How about everybody is given deed to the road directly in front of their property and become responsible for its upkeep like you already are for the sidewalk in front of your home or business now under threat of lawsuit for negligence if it isn't maintained.

At which point you turn around and contract out the operation and maintenance of your bit of road to a road maintenance company. Probably the road maintenance company that offers the best services for the price, which will most likely be the road maintenance company your neighbors use, because it is cheaper to maintain longer, contiguous strips of road than it is to maintain individual, disparate chunks, and a road maintenance company can thereby offer better services at lower prices to maintain contiguous segments. This leads to high uniformity, low costs, and efficient administration, all in private hands and subject to private liability. Hooray!

~Q

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Okay, who gets the money?

It was a humorous suggestion that I haven't thought much about. I do not know if auctions would be the best way to privatize, but they are one way to do it.

Just thinking off the top of my head, the funds should be used to help eliminate other confiscatory programs. Money generated from auction of the Interstate system could be used to issue Social Security or Medicare refunds. Eliminating the welfare state will be short-term costly by any means; this money could help offset that short-term cost. Or it could go into legitimate government functions, like defense. As long as it eventually goes back to the taxpayers, either as a check or as legitimate government services.

~Q

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Use the sale of these assets along with all other un-needed government owned assets to pay off the debt the government acquired in the course of doing what it didn't need to do in the first place.

I think that this is the solution. Qwertz's idea of reimbursing people their social insurance and medicare taxes is another way to go but I'd rather the new nation started off as debt free as possible.

Yes, the old government would have stolen tens, hundreds thousands and millions of dollars from every man woman and child but I view that as payment for stupidity (at least as far as a democratic nation is concerned) because we, the population, voted for those thefts.

Also, (and here is where I'm going to draw some fire) should the government have a surplus once all it's formerly legal assets are sold I think that that money should be invested and be used to support legitimate government functions in perpetuity.

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What if one person has a monopoly on all roads in a given area. He charges extreme prices, middle class and lower class people cannot pay the price so cannot use the road. Only the upper class can. But becuase the pric eis so high, the owner gets money.

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Before that argument will fly, you need to show that it is possible, in a capitalist society, for anyone to gain and hold a monopoly on anything without resort to government-sanctioned force.

~Q

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Before that argument will fly, you need to show that it is possible, in a capitalist society, for anyone to gain and hold a monopoly on anything without resort to government-sanctioned force.

~Q

It must depend on what the "given area" is. In a small enough area, all that The Anthem has described is well within the right to own property (and thus, in a greater area, is not a monopoly). All that follows is that individuals who cannot afford the price in the given area, cannot use the roads. So what? There's no right to go wherever you please just because you want to. Outside of that area, of course, will be property and roads that the others can afford to use.

Not incidentally, the notions of "upper class", "middle class", and "lower class" are, in my view, thoroughly inadmissible in a rational discussion. Since they have no precise definitions, they are mere appeals to emotions - and the wrong emotions at that (pity, fear, etc.).

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This might not seem like such a big deal but what about standardization? We take for granted the standardization of government owned roads. Namely the mileage markers, exits signs, caution signs, traffic signals, stop signs, road width, overpass height limits, load limits, entrance and exit ramp protocol, etc., etc., etc. Would it not be a logistical nightmare to not have a universal standard? Wouldn't private roads all have varying standards based on what suited the owner's needs for that individual road?

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This might not seem like such a big deal but what about standardization? We take for granted the standardization of government owned roads. Namely the mileage markers, exits signs, caution signs, traffic signals, stop signs, road width, overpass height limits, load limits, entrance and exit ramp protocol, etc., etc., etc. Would it not be a logistical nightmare to not have a universal standard? Wouldn't private roads all have varying standards based on what suited the owner's needs for that individual road?

Presumably since the purpose of the road is to provide safe passage to motorists, foisting logistical nightmares on them would not be among the owner's needs. Government standardization would not be necessary. A private professional group of civil engineers could provide the necessary standards, and the risk of civil tort damages for negligence would be inducement enough for road owners to follow them.

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Presumably since the purpose of the road is to provide safe passage to motorists, foisting logistical nightmares on them would not be among the owner's needs. Government standardization would not be necessary. A private professional group of civil engineers could provide the necessary standards, and the risk of civil tort damages for negligence would be inducement enough for road owners to follow them.

Historical examples of voluntary industry standardization:

0. Everyone in a contiguous area drives on the right (or left in some countries).

1. Standard gauge railroad track within a geographically contiguous area.

2. Automatic couplers for railroad rolling stock.

3. Standard hose connections for railroad air brakes.

4. Standard bases for light bulbs regardless of who makes them.

5. Industry standard data protocols.

6. Standard navigation protocols such as the red/green running lights on ships and planes or turning to starboard to avoid collisions.

....beginning of a very long list.......

Virtually everything in our commercial society is standardized and in most cases voluntarily standardized. Governments often acknowledge de facto standards. We do not need congress to formulate standards, in most cases.

All (or mostly) voluntary and all rational. Standardization increases profitability or safety. We don't need no badges to convince people to do that which promotes sales, profitability and safety.

Non-governmental protocols and standards were historically formulated by guilds and other trade associations starting back in the Middle Ages, when commerce was making a comeback. The motive was always the same. To promote sales and give customers a predictable context in which they could buy and sell. Some of these protocols were later written into Law. Businessmen do not need to be bludgeoned and whipped into doing that which promotes their profits. Production and trade converges rapidly to a system which conforms to generally accepted standards.

So who sets the standards? Usually trade and industry leaders who either by luck or virtue get "the pole position" in the race for profits. Others fall into line behind them because it is in their interest to do so. And that is why you turn screw lids clockwise in order to tighten them.

ruveyn

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Presumably since the purpose of the road is to provide safe passage to motorists, foisting logistical nightmares on them would not be among the owner's needs. Government standardization would not be necessary. A private professional group of civil engineers could provide the necessary standards, and the risk of civil tort damages for negligence would be inducement enough for road owners to follow them.

The purpose of some roads will be for safe passage for motorists. Maybe, maybe not. The purpose of the roads will be to make money. The safety of motorists is only important insofar as it serves that purpose. What is the standard of "safe", and who gets to decide? How would the public even know if a road is safe?

A private professional group of civil engineers could provide standards, maybe, but would this happen? Not necessarily. What if there are all sorts of conflicting ideas on what makes a road safe? Or what constitutes the most logical signage? Or the best design for intersections? What if a group of prominent engineers is paid by Big Highway, Inc to promote a certain standard, while Super Roads, Inc has their own standards and their own engineers? What happens when private roads intersect and no agreement can be reached on how to merge?

I just don't see the evidence that this would work as seamlessly as it is claimed.

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The purpose of some roads will be for safe passage for motorists. Maybe, maybe not. The purpose of the roads will be to make money. The safety of motorists is only important insofar as it serves that purpose. What is the standard of "safe", and who gets to decide? How would the public even know if a road is safe?

In a hypothetical state where roads are privately built, run and owned if Road Company X gets a reputation for unsafe bridges or road surfaces that wash out frequently, they will lose business. Safety very often pays. In the real society, roads are state run monopolies so there is not as much incentive for safety. See incident of collapsing interstate in Minneapolis or the collapse of the Canajohari Bridge on the New York State thruway. And even when the roads and bridges are built well they must be -maintained-. Government owned and run roads are infamous for deferred maintenance. Politicians love to fund New Stuff. They don't get publicity for safe bridges. We only hear about new bridges and the bridges that collapse, not the old ones that stand.

ruveyn

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In a hypothetical state where roads are privately built, run and owned if Road Company X gets a reputation for unsafe bridges or road surfaces that wash out frequently, they will lose business. Safety very often pays. In the real society, roads are state run monopolies so there is not as much incentive for safety. See incident of collapsing interstate in Minneapolis or the collapse of the Canajohari Bridge on the New York State thruway. And even when the roads and bridges are built well they must be -maintained-. Government owned and run roads are infamous for deferred maintenance. Politicians love to fund New Stuff. They don't get publicity for safe bridges. We only hear about new bridges and the bridges that collapse, not the old ones that stand.

ruveyn

Safety very often pays, except when it doesn't.

(hypothetical)

Road Company X sees more than the usual number of accidents or safety issues on its roads. It gets sued occasionally but it only pays actual damages and can afford to take the hits. Problem is, its the company that has got the most direct route from Chicago to Milwaukee, and maybe its the cheapest too since they cut all those corners on infrastructure. No other business can enter the market because there are not enough property owners willing to sell to make a similar route available. So we put up with the crap roads from Road Company X because its the only alternative, and Road Company X knows it. That doesn't mean RCX completely gouges its customers and blatantly ignores safety issues or logical inconsistencies in its designs. It stops short of the point where customers seriously consider alternatives.

Did I mention Road Company X owns the big daily newspapers in Chicago and Milwaukee, its mouthpieces to downplay criticism?

I guess being a bit over the top but maybe thats because its late and I'm tired. But this whole idea of privatized roads doesn't make any sense to me.

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