dollars and sense

Posted by anya on March 13th, 2009 filed in Uncategorized

Okay, so it’s Friday night and, being the party animal that I am, I am at home watching 20/20. They just had this segment on lessening the traffic the plagues major American cities. In LA, a 16 mile drive can take an hour and a half. This to me seems like hell, yes. And so the brilliant solution that advocates such as Drew Carey are proposing (and 20/20 seems to be backing) is to lease to private companies so that they can a) privatize existing segments of the roads or b) have a contract that will allow them to build better, newer roads alongside the ones that exist. Of course, consumers will have to pay a fee set by the companies (which will vary depending on time of day) to use these less congested roads. The reason that this will work is because private companies are presumably better at running things than the governments is, which is fair enough, but to me this seems like the complete opposite of what should be done. Roads are public goods, and it seems to me to be quite unfair to base the amount of time that you should spend in traffic on income. Indeed, traffic is the one place where you feel like driving your crappy car is just as miserable for you as it is for the person next to you in a Mercedes. And more importantly, it seems to me that this is reflective of our comfortable society as a whole: we don’t want to change our behavior, we want to pay someone to validate its perpetuation. So instead of (*gasp*) the bus, and instead of carpooling, of course private companies should be building roads. At the end of the segment, we see an ecstatic Drew Carey saying something along the lines of “Private companies should be allowed to build roads. Not that I care that much anyways because I have a helicopter.” So there you go.

Anyways, this segment was part of the larger episode called “Bailouts and Bull”, which focused on all the things that the US government is doing wrong. It seems funny to me that right now government can’t seem to do anything right at the same time as corporations are failing left and right.  We have dichotmized irresponsible government or corporate greed, but it’s too simplistic to think in these terms, and I’m actually not optimistic about either of the two dominant scenarios (the bail-out-and-stimulate-spending, or the leave-everything-alone-and-let-corporations-fail). It seems to me that, in the long run, neither one is going to facilitate a paradigm shift that will affect the behaviours we have come to internalize. Of course, I am much better at being a critic than I am at looking for solutions, so that’s about all I have to say about that.

2 Responses to “dollars and sense”

  1. Tyka Says:

    I really enojyed his book the shack. My husband writes fantasy. Kinda on the same lines as the guys who wrote the left behind series. He also has had comic books published. I like how Paul got us looking at god and Jesus as human. how he drew the readers in with the heart felt story. I look forward to reading his new book. My question is when will cross roads be on kindle fire? now that I have a kindle fire. I don’t buy to many actual books. I do more reading on my computer and my kindle. Kinda gone techno these day’s. Plus you don’t have to worry about the book getting ruined. I do enjoy his stuff. I am sorry so many Christians have been tough on him. I am a christian myself. Have been for years. I find some are very critical. They need to look with a spiritual eye.

  2. Says:

    Luigi, valinnanvapaus on yhdyssana ja kouluruoan osalta se on ollut olemassa vasta hyvin vähän aikaa. Se ei siis tosiaan ole mikään oikeus vaan saavutettu "etu". Ja niistähän tässä maassa osataan riidellä. Ja todella, kannatan kyllä aikuisväestönkin koulutusta, olisin itsekin asiasta hyvin iloinen. :)

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