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Title: Overcoming difficulties in privatizing roads
Authors: Block, Walter
Keywords: libertarianismeconomics
Issue Date: 2003
Publisher: EUT Edizioni Università di Trieste
Source: Walter Block, "Overcoming difficulties in privatizing roads", in: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics, V (2003) 2, pp. 1-18.
Series/Report no.: Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics
V (2003) 2
The present article considers, and rejects, four arguments against the privatization of roads, and in
favor of our present system of road socialism. They are 1. Eminent domain is cheap, efficient, and
necessary, but only government can avail itself of their “benefits.” 2. Roads are not perfectly
competitive, but rather, necessarily, are characterized by monopolistic elements, which only the state
can address. 3. Roads are different then everything else; people impose waiting costs on others
without taking them into account; this externalities problem is a market failure that, again, only
government can solve. 4. Road privatization is unfair to abutting property owners. In section 3, the
paper deals with five objections to, or difficulties with, street and highway privatization: 1. The
government has violated “Non-Compete” clauses to protect private investors in roadways. 2. Private
industry would find it impossible to discern rational prices for its services. 3. Should public roads be
commercialized before being privatized? That is, should the state first charge a price for these
services and then privatize, or do the opposite? 4. Road privatization would be a public relations
nightmare. How should this be dealt with?
Type: Article
ISSN: 1825-5167
Appears in Collections:Etica & Politica / Ethics & Politics (2003) V/2

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