Transport or transportation is the movement of humans, animals and goods from one location to another. Modes of transport include air, land (rail and road), water, cable, pipeline and space. The field can be divided into infrastructure, vehicles and operations. Transport is important because it enables trade between people, which is essential for the development of civilizations.
Along Pennsylvania Avenue, by Aubrey Herbert, Faith and Freedom, Sep 1955
After some comments on politics and politicians, covers the debate over the TVA from both Republican and Democrat sides and finds a libertarian voice in a young Republican, ending with remarks on regulatory mischief at the Civil Aeronautics Board
Our government punishes one airline company while it subsidizes another. One airline, North American, receives no subsidy and yet pioneered in low-cost aircoach service. Showing an excellent safety record, North American forced the other reluctant companies to enter the cheaper aircoach field. Yet the Civil Aeronautics Board, the Federal agency that dictates to the airline industry, is warring unceasingly against North American ... This hamstringing of a young airline clearly shows the role of our many regulatory agencies: they harass private enterprise and promote a monopoly.
All through sub-Saharan Africa, the lack of roads is one of the biggest obstacles to development–and not just from the standpoint of moving agricultural inputs in and moving increased grain production to the cities. That's part of it, but I think roads also have great indirect value. If a road is built going across tribal groups and some beat-up old bus starts moving, in seven or eight years you'll hear people say, 'You know, that tribe over there, they aren't so different from us after all, are they?' ... The lack of roads in Africa greatly hinders agriculture, education, and development.
During the Iraq-Iran war, the U.S. Navy shot down an Iranian civilian airplane over Iranian airspace, killing 290 passengers and crew members. The captain of the USS Vincennes said his ship was being attacked by gunboats at the time, and the Airbus A300 was misidentified as an attacking F-14 Tomcat. Iran countered that the civilian flight left Iran every day at the same time. Witnesses with Italy's navy and on a nearby U.S. warship said the airliner was climbing, not diving (as a plane would for an attack), when it was shot down.
The Challenge to the U.S. Postal Monopoly, 1839-1851 [PDF], by Kelly B. Olds, Cato Journal, 1995
Analysis of the operation of the U.S. Post Office in the 1840s, including estimates of subsidies to various groups, and discussion of the private competitors and the effects they had on the postal service
Coach contractors were a very influential lobby In Washington. On the surface, horse, sulky and stagecoach contracts were determined competitively. Routes were auctioned off for four years. Allegations were made, however, that the bidding on contracts was rigged. Government treated postal contracts as an unofficial means of subsidizing transportation. ... The federal government had an unstated policy of subsidizing railroad and steamship companies. Railroads dramatically lowered transport costs for the private sector, but the construction of railroads actually raised the price of mail transportation.
The Doomslayer, by Ed Regis, Wired, Feb 1997
Lengthy essay about Simon, his research and writings, as well as critical views on his positions
Then in 1966 or so, he had his big idea about how to solve the airline overbooking problem. Anticipating no-shows, airlines routinely oversold their flights. But when more people showed up at the gate than the plane had seats, pandemonium ensued. 'Well, why not pay people to get off the plane?' he wondered. ... Eleven years later, in 1977, Simon hadn't given up on the scheme. ... And lo and behold, a year after that, when economist Alfred Kahn headed up the Civil Aeronautics Board, Simon's proposal was put into practice. It was a raging success from the start, remains so to this day ...
Economics Is Fun, by Thomas E. Woods, Jr., 27 Apr 2007
Review of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Capitalism (2007) by Robert P. Murphy
Wouldn't there be lots of crashes in the absence of federal regulation? Wouldn't we all have to research the safety records of all the airlines on which we planned to travel? ... [I]f people simply insisted on indemnification in the event of a crash, the airlines would have to take out insurance in order to be able to satisfy any claims that might arise. Any such insurance company would have a vested interest in doing (or hiring outside agencies to do) all the regulatory inquiry that makes sense–tracking the age and condition of the planes, the skill level of the pilots, and so on.
On the other hand, privatization of airports and air traffic control would now place the safety of air travelers directly on the shoulders of the suppliers of transportation and the related facilities. No airline or airport would make money if it failed to secure the safety and lives of its customers and passengers. The insurance companies carrying the policies on airline companies and airports would insist on various safety measures and methods to minimize the risk of a hijacking or a terrorist act. The history of private "regulation" through the insurance and related industries is a long and successful one.
Julian Simon, Lifesaver, by Donald J. Boudreaux, The Freeman, Apr 1998
Reflections on the passing of Julian Simon; opening quote: "The real issue is not whether one cares about nature, but whether one cares about people", The Ultimate Resource 2 (1996)
More than 20 years ago, Julian devised the volunteer system that U.S. airlines use today to handle overbooked flights. Because of him, airline travel is now more reliable and less costly. As a result, fewer people drive long distances; more people fly. And because flying is much safer than driving, Julian's idea literally saves lives ... No one is forced to miss the flight; instead, the airline pays people to miss the flight. The airline pays with an offer of a later flight to the passenger's immediate destination as well as with a free roundtrip ticket to another destination of the passenger's choosing.
The Many Monopolies, by Charles W. Johnson, 24 Aug 2011
Describes four ways in which markets are distorted by government interventions, explains Benjamin Tucker's "Four Monopolies", examines five present-day monopolies and discusses Tucker's libertarian views
The Infrastructure Monopoly includes physical and communications infrastructure. Governments build roads, railways, and airports through eminent domain and tax subsidies, and impose cartelizing regulations on most mass transit. Restricted entry secures monopoly profits for insulated carriers; confiscating money and property to subsidize long-distance transportation and shipping creates tax-supported business opportunities for agribusiness, big-box chain retailers, and other businesses dependent on long-haul trucking.
Obstruction of Justice, by Robert Poole, Jr., Michigan Privatization Report, 1997
Discusses U.S. federal policies that prevent or work against lower-level governments privatizing the "services" they provide
In transportation, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act permits the private redevelopment of certain categories of federally aided highways and bridges—a welcome step forward. But it specifically exempts the most important and commercially attractive portions of the nation's highway system—the Interstates. It's no wonder, then, that hardly any states have taken advantage of these provisions. The Clinton Administration in March proposed eliminating this obstacle in its proposed highway reauthorization legislation.
The Railroads of France, by Murray N. Rothbard, Ideas on Liberty, Sep 1955
Recounts the history of gradual nationalization of French railroads from 1876 to 1938, as well as a comparison between the Belgian state-owned railway and the then privately-owned French Northern Railway
... the French government purchased the large and important Western Railway system in 1908 ... The effects of the new regime of government ownership were ... The entire railroad was in disorder. A series of major accidents occurred on the government line, although there were no such accidents on the private lines. ... In 1908, the length of time for a trip from Rouen to Paris was 2 hours and 11 minutes. After three years of government operation, the time had increased to 2 hours and 39 minutes, a rise of 20 per cent—seven minutes longer than the time for the trip when the railroad first began operations in 1865.
In fact, foreign companies, including those from Singapore, Taiwan, South Korea and Denmark, are managing the majority of the terminals at US ports, especially the big ones such at Los Angeles and Long Beach in California and New York and New Jersey, and much of the US merchant marine fleet was bought by foreigners, including by Singapore's Neptune Orient Line.
What is Uber? It's an innovator ... Uber (and its competitor, Lyft) is a company whose smartphone app efficiently matches riders and drivers. When Uber enters a market, it carefully recruits and certifies local drivers. Then, using the app, people who need a ride can quickly find drivers to get them where they want to go. Customers are told fares in advance and how long they'll wait to be picked up. After the trip, driver and rider are asked to evaluate each other ... In Paris, the government tried to mandate a 15-minute delay between ordering a ride and receiving a pickup. Fortunately, a court said no.
Talkers versus doers, by Thomas Sowell, 9 Jun 2004
Contrasts the pharmaceutical, automobile, housing and tech companies and entrepreneurs to those who create nothing yet criticize those businesses and are popularly regarded as heroes instead of those who truly improve lives
Today, we take the automobile so much for granted that it is hard to realize what an expansion of the life of ordinary people it represented. There was a time when most people lived and died within a 50-mile radius of where they were born. The automobile opened a whole new world to these people. It also enabled those living in overcrowded cities to spread out into suburbs and get some elbow room. Trucks got goods to people more cheaply and ambulances got people to hospitals to save their lives.
Smith: We're doing work on creating a market for the exchange of landing and takeoff slots at airports. In normal circumstances, those rights have been fully allocated among the airlines at a given airport. But let's say a bad weather front moves in, so there's a ground delay. They've been doing maybe 60 landings and takeoffs per hour, but now they've got to reduce that to 30. What airports tend to do is just stretch out the existing schedule, which leads to cancellations and other problems. What you need is a market mechanism so that the flights that have higher priority get out.
Rockwell: ... [T]he FAA has long prevented airlines from defending their own property. I know many pilots who saw the need for guns on planes long ago. But the regulatory view was that this was unthinkable. They were told that hijackers need to be placated and talked to by experts on the ground, while passengers and crew should be compliant ... [T]his entire war and the huge increase in government power that has resulted, including the thousands dead and the billions in destroyed property, might not ever have occurred had the pilots had the right to protect property from invasion and theft.