Are Private Roads Safer?

In the comments section, Robert Taylor argues in favor of getting rid of all public roads and replacing them all with private roads. He says this will make the roads safer.

I’d say the number of accidents caused by shitty roads is just about zero.

First of all, yes, there are roads that needs some work. In fact, there is a huge backlog of such work in the US. The reason for the backlog is that the the agents of the capitalists (Republicans) in US government refuse to fund government spending for public roads. It’s quite rich when capitalists create a road crisis in the US, then claim that pubic roads don’t work, so we need to privatize them. But this is the way that the capitalist agents work in the US: Starve the government of funds so it can’t do its job. Then call the state incompetent when it can’t function because you starved it of funds. Then argue that the state needs to be dismantled or privatized because it can’t do its job.

One problem with privatized roads everywhere is that it would be horribly expensive. Most of us probably could not afford to drive very much as there would be tolls everywhere. The well to do could easily afford the tolls and would drive just as much s before. The tolls of the well-heeled would probably be plenty enough to keep the system running.

The notion that capitalist-run roads would not hurt any motorists is curious.

Capitalist firms cause the death of 47,000 workers a year in the US and the wounding of many, many more. They are almost never sued over these deaths and injuries and even more rarely are they sent to jail or even fined. Capitalist companies get to kill and injure as many workers as they wish.

Sure, we consumers get to sue capitalist firms that kill and injure us, but capitalists are lobbying their agents in government to limit our ability to do just that.

The record of capitalism’s treatment of workers, consumers and just plain citizens the world over is just flat out mass murder and mass maiming, for the most part in the 3rd World. They usually control the state (as if usually the case under capitalism) and therefore, nothing is done about these killers. If it’s good for the bottom line to kill and maim workers, consumers and citizens, then capitalists will do just that.

Right now, capitalists are destroying the very climate of our world, and this destruction is killing and hurting countless people worldwide.

Air pollution alone of various causes kills possibly 50,000 Americans a year and maybe many more. It injures far more than that. Almost all air pollution in the US is caused by capitalist firms.

In the Sierra Nevada mountains and in the Central Valley, most public roads are pretty darned good. After heavy rain, there are potholes, but these are fixed very quickly.

On the contrary, there are quite a few private roads around here, especially in the mountains. One thing you notice about private roads is that they are terrible almost 100% of the time. You can tell when you are going from a public to a private road because immediately the road turns to shit. Many of these roads are on winding mountain lanes next to expensive houses. The road is owned by everyone who lives on it. No one wants to pay to fix the road, so it never gets fixed.

Also, I was placed under citizen’s arrest once by a hillbilly for “walking on his road.” I was convicted by the crooked DA and the conviction is still on my record. I wasn’t even breaking the law. The road must be marked as private, otherwise you can walk or drive on it all you want to, and the road was not marked.

I seriously doubt if 34% of all accidents in the US are “the road’s fault.” That’s a bunch of shit. “Road conditions” usually means rain, ice, sleet, or snow on the road. Maybe a downed object. The number of public roads I have driven on that are out and out hazardous are few and far between.

I have not seen a lot of evidence for the contention that Caltrans and county road crews are not capable of maintaining our roads. On the contrary, they seem to do a bangup job.


Filed under Capitalism, Capitalists, Economics, Environmentalism, Government, Labor, Politics, Pollution, Republicans, Scum, US Politics

17 responses to “Are Private Roads Safer?

  1. Matt

    Public roads in the U.S. are bad for the same reason everything “public” in the U.S. is bad. Typical Americans, even those who are poor or non rich, hold anything that doesn’t exist for the purpose of making money in contempt. So when budgets are cut, the things that benefit the poor are cut first. Then come the things that benefit more or less everybody. Those things that are never cut are the things that benefit the stinking rich. Corporate welfare and bail outs, wars, and “public” services in rich neighborhoods come to mind.

    Thank whatever gods there may be that even very nice cars can fall victim to potholes, one hopes in very bad neighborhoods.

    • You’re absolutely right, Matt. Government actions always tend to benefit the elite rather than the common man when you follow the logical chain of consequences.

      And why should they benefit the masses? They’re not interested in large profits. On the other hand, companies like Wal Mart provide affordable products to those very people you say government hurts first. Why? Because they’re interested in the large profits. There is demand, and the Capitalists want to meet those demands.

      • matt

        Governments always benefit the elite when the elite own the government, as in the U.S. This tends to happen under unbridled capitalism, or neoliberalism. With no government at all, it would be even worse. Mad Max world, or that Great Libertarian Utopia known as Somalia.

        Your use of Walmart as an example is very telling. Walmart sells cheap (and poor quality) stuff. Other businesses fail because they can’t or won’t sell low quality crap for low prices. Wages are depressed, so people can only afford cheap Walmart crap. So what it gives with one hand it takes away with the other.

        Good try.

        • I happen to think that government does more for the masses than the capitalists do. What do the capitalists do for them? Pay them crap wages, refuse to hire them at all, treat them like crap after they hire them.

          I wish we had some figures on private roads in the 3rd world. I’m told that roads in the 3rd world are complete shit. I wonder if those are private roads or state roads? I sure as Hell don’t want to pay some capitalist shit just to drive my car on his fuckin asphalt. What’s next? Are they going charge me for breathing their air? Are they going to charge me every time I take a crap or take a leak.

          Every time I take a crap, Bill Gates gets 2 cents. I’m sure if he figured out a way to do that, that motherfucker would do just that. Capitalism is shit.

        • Again Robert, you can’t just call for a minimum wage standard, inhibit market forces, and then blame Capitalism for the pathetic buying power of the dollar.

          The difference between the government and private industry is that one makes you pay by the barrel of a gun in your face, and the other is voluntary.

          Government already dictates what kind of toilet you have to use to take a crap. They tell you what you can and cannot put in your body. They take your money like it or not.

        • There is no alternative to elites ruling the government Matt.

          Let’s explore the alternative to an anarchist society with individual property rights:

          Two Alternatives:

          1.) Communist Alternative (everyone owns everything)
          2.) Partial Ownership by One Group Over Another

          For #2, you can’t develop a universal ethic because to have a ruling class, you assume that the ruled are subhuman and have no rights.

          Alternative 1 (the Communist Alternative) doesn’t work because in the first place, in practice, if there are more than a very few people in the society, this alternative must break down and reduce to Alternative (2), partial rule by some over others. Robert Lindsay has talked about this in his primitive communism articles. For it is physically impossible for everyone to keep continual tabs on everyone else, and thereby to exercise his equal share of partial ownership over every other man.

          In practice, then, this concept of universal and equal other-ownership is Utopian and impossible, and supervision and therefore ownership of others necessarily becomes a specialized activity of a ruling class. Hence, no society which does not have full self-ownership for everyone can enjoy a universal ethic. For this reason alone, 100percent self-ownership for every man is the only viable political ethic for mankind.

          But suppose for the sake of argument that this Utopia could be sustained. What then? In the first place, it is surely absurd to hold that no man is entitled to own himself, and yet to hold that each of these very men is entitled to own a part of all other men! But more than that, would our Utopia be desirable? Can we picture a world in which no man is free to take any action whatsoever without prior approval by everyone else in society? Clearly no man would be able to do anything, and the human race would quickly perish.

  2. Erranter

    I think a lot of the more moderate libertarians are for public roads. To be devil’s advocate for a moment, I think that in general the surge in the libertarian movement is not directed at the creation of a true libertarian society, it’s just a reaction to the expansion of big government—and they’re basically trying to vote it down wherever it starts to stick its nose in everyone’s business. That’s the main reason why I was briefly a libertarian.

    As for roads, it would sure suck to pay a toll everywhere you went. Another question is who would police the roads. I imagine the libertarians would provide private security on their road land to keep it rid of bandits? Kind of like some guide or whatever to drive you through the badlands. And since there’d be no regulation of prices, when you got really far out you could expect to pay a hell of a lot for gas and food.

    I mean, I guess in a way it sounds kind of like a cool adventure. Many libertarians have this rosy colored vision of the Wild West. I even think before the age of consumer observation and the culture machine, this kind of society, while not ideal or very civilized, could offer some pretty good times and sublime experiences. You’d probably die young, but what the hell. Today I just think people would get swallowed up by corporations, turned into lincoln logs in the system, no privacy, no rights, no way to do anything without spending a ton of money. People would probably work damn hard, but there’d be little time to do much else but work. You’d probably live in a company town or at least a company barracks to whatever factory you worked in. Work 10+ hrs. a day and most of your money would go right back to them in the form of rent.

    • erranter and they’re basically trying to vote it down wherever it starts to stick its nose in everyone’s business.

      I would argue that big bussiness do this too. What’s up with those discount cards you use to get the sale price? Why are they keeping track of everything that I buy?

      People would probably work damn hard, but there’d be little time to do much else but work. You’d probably live in a company town or at least a company barracks to whatever factory you worked in

      that’s the way many young women in China do it. 6 days a week with manditory overtime. Going from factory to factory. It’s like an advanced form of slavery if you ask me.

      • LaFleur

        Several Foxconn workers agreed with you, chic noir.

        Ma’s sister, Ma Li Qun, 22, also worked for Foxconn and said the pressure was enormous.

        “We were not allowed to talk during work. We weren’t even allowed to look around. Our superiors used a stop watch to time us. We were fined for any mistakes we made.”

        Luckily, as Walter Block told us: “every time the life of someone was tragically snuffed out, someone in a position to ameliorate these dangerous conditions would lose money, and this tends, wonderfully, to focus the minds of the owners.”

        So the workers who would rather die than spend one more day working at Foxconn succeeded in focusing the minds of the owners:

        It has even started putting up nets around buildings, designed to catch workers who decide to jump. Workers were also installing wire barriers across open balconies on high floors at Foxconn dormitories.

        It sure would make me feel better as I slogged back from an 18 hour shift to see my bosses were thinking of me.

        Happily, the market heard the workers go splat and answered generously:

        The Taiwanese electronics company buffeted by a spate of suicides at its China factories said Friday it will raise the pay of workers by an average of 20 percent.

        The pay raises at Foxconn Technology Group have been in the works for months to cope with a labor shortage following China’s recovery from the global recession, said a company official speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the press.

        But the official said the big jump [get it, jump?] in pay could help to lift worker morale. “Feeling sad is contagious, and so is feeling happy,” he said. “We hope the workers will have a positive attitude toward their lives.”

        • la fleur, if you have time check out this book

          Factory Girls by Leslie T Chang

          it really breaks down what it’s like to work in a factory and how employers prefer women(not feminism folks).

          Money brings= power.

          Some of those young girls are pretty much the head of their families.

        • LaFleur

          That looks like a good one. I will add it to my list, thanks.

  3. Ken Hoop

    The decisive controversy in the Third World as related to the conditions of their roads is not capitalism vs. communism.

  4. privatize the roads ? That sounds so strange to me.

    the workers who would work on private roads would get some really crapy wages. Would probably not hire Americans so they can pay lower wages.

    God forbid they were to get injured on the job. The worker’s insurance company would argue that the damaged thumb was a preexisting condition since the worker slammed his thumb in the door back in middle school.

    *obama cares a coming, folks I know I know.

  5. robert Also, I was placed under citizen’s arrest once by a hillbilly for “walking on his road.” I was convicted by the crooked DA and the conviction is still on my record. I wasn’t even breaking the law

    Are you kidding robert? Did this really happen?

  6. robert First of all, yes, there are roads that needs some work. In fact, there is a huge backlog of such work in the US

    Wasn’t the stimulus suppose to handle this before local state and city leaders diverted the funds so they could pink slip fewer workers?

    robert One problem with privatized roads everywhere is that it would be horribly expensive. Most of us probably could not afford to drive very much as there would be tolls everywhere

    Yup, that’s how I see it robert. Can you imagine if the road you need to take you to work is also the road that leads into an area with popular tourist attractions.

    Aw snap, we’ll be so broke.

  7. Pingback: Linkage is Good for You: Still Playing Catch-Up Edition (NSFW)

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