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Re: Subsidization

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  • prometeus57
    ... I.e. health care is subsidized because a healthier population is more efficient and more productive. Education is subsidized because it produces more
    Message 1 of 3 , Apr 4 10:48 AM
      --- In carfree_cities@y..., "Lanyon, Ryan" <ryan.lanyon@c...> wrote:
      > In Canada, we subsidize things that improve our rate of return.
      I.e. health care is subsidized because a healthier population is more
      efficient and more productive. Education is subsidized because it
      produces more skilled and knowledgeable workers who attract
      industry. Remember when education used to be about getting educated
      and not about getting a job? This seems to be the direction our
      right-wing policymakers and politicians are taking us... <

      That's the right-wing justification for subsidies. The left-wing
      justification is a little different.

      To a left-winger, the state should subsidize things which help people
      achive their goal and better themselves. The question immediately
      arises of whether something is a legitimate goal. If someone had some
      antisocial goal (eg, ruining other people) then there's no question
      that the state shouldn't subsidize it. Those are simply not
      legitimate goals.

      What are the possible reasons for driving a car? 1) as a status
      symbol, 2) to insulate oneself from the rest of society, 3) to
      selfishly save as much time for oneself as possible, et cetera. The
      goals of mobility et al. are best achieved in some manner other than
      cars. So driving a car is not a legitimate goal. People may be
      /forced/ to drive cars, but that's a different matter.

      What's great is that both the right-wing and the left-wing
      justifications align themselves on this issue.
    • turpin
      ... There are quite a few people who will make a cultural justification for cars and driving, in terms of independent mobility. I don t buy the arguments. But
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 4 3:07 PM
        --- In carfree_cities@y..., "prometeus57" <prometeus57@y...> wrote:
        > What are the possible reasons for driving a car?

        There are quite a few people who will make a cultural
        justification for cars and driving, in terms of
        independent mobility. I don't buy the arguments. But
        we should be aware that they are made.

        > What's great is that both the right-wing and the
        > left-wing justifications align themselves on this
        > issue.

        Economists will point out that subsidies generally
        create a significant social burden and produce a lot
        of hidden social problems. This is true even for
        good subsidies. Many of the ills we decry about car
        culture are a direct result of the subsidization of
        the roadways, even though few people realize this
        or understand the connection. There are some things
        that should be subsidized. Of course, everyone
        argues about what those are.

        My own view is (a) the bias always should be against
        subsidization, unless there is compelling social
        reason to do so, and (b) if a group has come to
        realize that some activity is so harmful in its
        consequence as to fight it politically, the FIRST
        thing to address is where it is subsidized. The
        thing I find interesting is that people rarely view
        car issues as a matter of subsidy. They park for
        "free" and drive wherever they want for "free,"
        except for a few toll roads, yet still think of
        automobile travel as essentially the result of
        private enterprise. And then they are surprised
        that the roads are overused, and that there is
        this terrible mismatch between sensible resource
        allocation and the decisions of businesses and
        individuals. But THAT is exactly what subsidy
        causes.
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