--- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com
, De Clarke <de@u...> wrote:
> in an earlier post Serge challenge the idea that the automobile was a
> nonconvivial (non-vulgarisable, diminishing-returns) technology, and
> that it is streets and parking lots that are the nonconvivial
> I didn't have time or energy to respond at the time, but this
strikes me as
> absurd. the car, the road (as we now know it) and the parking lot,
> part of *one* technology: the private automobile paradigm. take
> cars and the infrastructure would be radically different. it's all one
> package, and the demand for parking and roadway space that the
> generates is part of what makes it nonconvivial: if you get enough
> in cars demanding to occupy large amounts of space (in motion or at
> you start to run out of space, both for more-people-in-cars and for
Yes, it is true that cars and the facilities for them (roads,
parking lots) can be viewed as one technology, but they are not
one and the same.
Consider if movie theaters were made "public" (like our roads) and
paid for through taxes. Going to the movies would be "free".
Can you picture the lines, the crowds, the congestion?
Obviously, if you take away the cars the infrastructure would be
radically different. But it would also be radically different if
all roads had tolls, and toll prices were based on congestion.
Imagine if tolls were priced like airline ticket prices. If you
plan your trip in advance, you can purchase discount road
reservations, while they are available. Last minute Thanksgiving
trip? It's going to cost you a small fortune (but, the road will
not be congested).
Also note that as long as cost is not an object and parking prices
are not regulated, you can always find a place to park.
So it's not the cars per se that are nonconvivial - it's their
usage, and, in particular, the unnaturally low marginal cost of
usage that makes them appear to be nonconvivial. Indeed, if
no one ever used a car there would be no issue at all. And
if road users were not protected from paying the true costs
of road usage on every trip, and actually had to pay the true
market costs of such usage, these costs would suppress car usage
to a convivial level.