Andrew Coyne, Market Socialist

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Andrew Coyne, a sort of northern version of our own Bob Poole from Reason, has an interesting article in Maclean’s, a Canadian magazine. It is called “Stuck in Traffic,” and in some ways it is pretty good. Certainly, it well documents the costs of being stuck in traffic. And, too, it does call for peak load pricing (charging more during rush hours, and less at other times) and gives some good examples of this system in actual operation. However, it totally and completely fails to come to grips with the fact that our highway and road system is under, wait for this, you’ll never guess, government control. It is as if Coyne is writing under the old USSR economic system, calling for the use of prices as an aid to statist central planning. It simply won’t work as Mises has demonstrated over and over again. Coyne fails to even address the problem that if his suggestion of peak load pricing is so good (and of course it it) why has it been implemented so rarely. That, of course, is due to the fact that we labor under a system of road socialism. Nor does Coyne confront the fact that in most cases of toll roads, bridges, etc., the government engages in anti peak load pricing: charging less at times of road congestion, and more at other times. The highway authorities commonly do this when they issue monthly passes at cheaper daily prices for regular commuters who utilize highway capacity during the hours of the day with the most traffic. No, socialism is socialism is socialism, and this applies to highways as well as to anything else. Coyne probably sees himself as a free enterpriser (as does Poole), but both are nothing but efficiency experts for the state, and poor ones at that, since neither recommends full privatization. On this last point, see Hans Hoppe’s brilliant analysis recently published in Libertarian Papers.

12:32 pm on March 7, 2011