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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

More Small-Government Conservatism: The Siege of Wanstonia

Via UK Indymedia, with hat tip to Jesse Walker.

A participant in the siege of Wanstonia recently commemorated the tenth anniversary of that event. You really should click on the link for yourself, just to see what a beautiful neighborhood was destroyed to make way for the M11--part of Maggie's "greatest road building program since the Romans." Yes, that Maggie: this destruction of a local community to build a subsidized road was the work of the same Mrs. Thatcher whose tenure the ASI lionizes as the epitome of "small government."

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nowhere in this piece does our man tell us just what is exactly wrong with having a regional airport. I am well aware that Wal-Mart, Tyson, etc. benefit from it. I am not affiliated with any of the corporations around here but I also benefit from it because I now have great air service. I know that trucking companies benefit tremendously from having I-540, but I get to use it too, so why is it a problem if they benefit? And 500,000 passengers a year at XNA tells us there was sufficient demand for it all along. No one makes an effective case that the presence of XNA makes life worse for Northwest Arkansas.

February 25, 2005 11:46 AM  
Blogger Kevin Carson said...

The airport and highways are bad because they're subsidized. The trucking industry, W-M and Tyson don't just "benefit"; they receive benefits without paying the full cost of providing them. Instead of being funded with user fees assessed according to the cost a user imposes on the system, they receive the services at taxpayer expense. Worse still, they depend on the use of eminent domain, which is another term for robbery.

Subsidies to any factor of production encourages intensive reliance on that factor, and favors business firms most reliant on it. Simple econ 101: when you provide something for less than the cost of producing it, the market will be distorted toward more consumption. So subsidies to transportation encourage centralization of the economy, urban sprawl, etc., which lead to pressure for even more subsidies to transportation.

The ultimate outcome is demand for transportation increasing exponentially, faster than money can possibly be appropriated to build new infrastructure. Subsidized infrastructure doesn't relieve demand; it generates more demand--and there's no way to build it as fast as it generates demand.

The reason is that distorting the market price feedback mechanism through subsidies is like distorting the hormonal feedback mechanism in the human body. You wind up with gigantism, a person dying collapsing under their own weight.

Finally, if it was such a good thing, why didn't the business leaders of Northwest Arkansas openly argue for it to the taxpayers and citizens who would be affected by it and attempt to persuade them honestly, instead of sneaking around like a bunch of thieves?

February 25, 2005 5:11 PM  

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