Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Traffic Jams

Today, I read a commentary written by Charles Wheelan, author of Naked Economics, dealing with attacking our nation's traffic problems through simple economics. The basic idea is that if something is underpriced, then it will be overconsumed. The idea isn't a new one, and a similar view can be found here.

I think that too many people scoff at what seems like a drastic measure, but it really does make a lot of sense. Painful as it might be initially, the longer term effects of having a more appropriately priced traffic system in place might be quite good for the nation as a whole. One beneficial side-effect would be that a number of us would be forced to be more social. I'd much rather live in a society made up of more sociable people than not.

For those who think that increasing the cost of utilizing public roads would hurt the lower class... perhaps this could be offset by making public transportation free by having drivers subsidize the costs. I am sure there are many ways to make the system a bit more fair. Surely, many would hate what they perceive as a less convenient system, but it really would be a personal choice. You want convenience? Pay for it. If you don't want to pay for it, then don't complain.

What do you think?

No comments: