Thursday, December 16, 2010

Quotation for the day: Laurent Carnis

[G]overnment employees insure the public supply of roads without being fully or partly liable. When there is an accident caused by a hole in the road and although it constitutes a default (a failure) in the good provision, the employees' liability is not engaged. The costs are left to the taxpayers, which must pay for the damage done to the victim.  When the law provides no compensation, the victim must support the damage alone.  In the same way, government agencies can determine the conditions of using the roads without taking into account the desires of drivers.  The problems of congestion in the downtown and urban area and the important number of accidents testify to this inability to deal with the problem and show little concern for them. Consequently, government agencies provide a good independently of the needs of the drivers. In that sense, there are no firms and no customers, but only a bureaucracy, which imposes its norms and its view on the population.  The relationship is not contractual but hierarchical.  So the situation can be seen as a forced consumption.
Laurent Carnis, "New Directions in Road Privatization," Austrian Scholars Conference 7: Proceedings, March 30-31, 2001, Auburn, Alabama: Ludwig von Mises Institute (courtesy of the Mises website).

[Photo: INRETS (Institut national de recherche sur les transports et leur sécurité)]

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