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The Privatization of Roads and Highways: Human and Economic Factors Paperback – 2009

3.9 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 475 pages
  • Publisher: Ludwig von Mises Institute; 1st edition (2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193355004X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933550046
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,600,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
For libertarians, there is no one living person more irreplaceable to the economics and theory of a free society than Walter Block. Ron Paul is the most important for informing the masses, Lew Rockwell is unmistakably at the forefront of spreading and promoting the message, and Dr. Block is the preeminent scholar for all things libertarian and the application of such. (Quick note- I'm not suggesting this is in anyway a complete or definitive list, there are many more people that fit into these categories of good guys but for the sake of review space I have just called out those three for illustrative purposes).

In his latest book, Dr. Block calls for a complete rehashing of our current socialist (and in some places fascist) roads, highways, alleyways, driveways, sidewalks, etc. To put a name to it, he suggests that the whole thing be privatized and subject to the demands and competition of consumers just like any other [rational] industry. For those who are not yet familiar with Dr. Walter Block, you will note the rigorous approach with which he applies libertarian theory to all aspects in society, seemingly having been passed the torch from Murray Rothbard. Never is libertarianism more fun than when presented by Walter Block, he offers a die-hard strict libertarian approach to all issues and highlights the inconsistency and hypocrisy that is central to the critics of liberty, all the while providing several good laughs along the way.

After the initial three chapters, which, as a casual reader, were very lengthy and detailed and somewhat difficult to follow for a layman, the stage is set and a most important case made: privatize the roads!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book, as with Walter Block's other works, is incisive, compelling, and very readable. Unfortunately, Edwin Mellen Press has typeset, printed, and bound the book in a slipshod manner which can only be described as appalling. Many readers have run into expensive volumes published by academic publishers, but this one takes the cake:

-the cloth used for the hardcover on this new book (2006) already looks old and weather-beaten

-my copy literally had a curved spine with the cloth improperly attached (immediately visible to any bibliophile or even non-bibliophile)

-the images on the front and back cover are distorted/pixelated

-the images on the front of the book look to be taken from an early-nineties clip art collection

-the actual innards of the book are of low-quality paper

-the MS Word-esque layout and formatting of the text reminds one of early print-on-demand books, with text that is too small and with too much spacing

This book is chock-full of amazing, fascinating content, but brace yourself for disappointment at the shoddy job by the printer/bindery on this book that is going for over $100 as I write this. I recommend this book to those interested in the subject matter, but others may want to spend their time praying for a second edition whose binding quality matches the quality of the content within.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this great book Walter Block show that in any circunstances freedom is always the best solution for every conflict that can possibly occur beteween individuals. Roads and streets, and every single piece of land should be private, no land should belong to "us all" or even worse, to the State.
Read this book and you will understand what I am saying.
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Format: Paperback
Dr. Walter Block, though an economist who would seemingly only focus on the viability of road privatization, is greatly concerned with the life saving ability of the free market; not that he doesn't explain how private roads can be profitable and practical, but he elaborates extensively on how the free market would dramatically increase the safety for consumers (drivers). He points to the inherent inability of bureaucracy to excel (see Ludwig von Mises' _Socialism_) and how other free market industries have improved safety.

This book will challenge the typical free market supporter; if you are such a person, read this book and learn if you really support free market principles in almost all cases, or if your faith is less strong. Then, if you do, consider anarchocapitalism - Dr. Block's political philosophy. He accused Milton Friedman of being a "road socialist", and Friedman admitted he didn't believe the free market could provide such a public good. Block references the history of successful private roads, but even with this proof it is controversial still.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In a world where road costs are paid for by citizens and controlled by a government unaccountable to those citizens, then the idea of privatizing the roadways makes sense. In today's world the private industry already builds and maintains our roads but under the direction of a bureaucratic organization that wastes more money than it employs to actually care for the roads. Since when has a politician ever been a road designer & engineer? Even if they were engineers it is probably safe to say the small wages paid to government workers does not draw first in class engineers. It's as if we have cut out the middle man by privatizing the repair and building of the highways but tied the private sector up so they cannot operate efficiently. In the end we pay for the inefficient. In this book it is laid out how we can effectively get the roads fixed and save money in the long run. It offers novel ways to meet these ends that will reduce costs and eliminate waste by removing the bureaucrats. It will also reduce costs by reducing government. Our roads would be our own and not up for sale to foreign interests as a commodity as so many tollways have recently been marketed.

Taking control of our roadways removes so many monetary obstacles thrown in our way but bureaucrats haggling over what fund they can rob to pay Paul or themselves. There are many good and functional ideas presented in this book to take back our roadways and make them safer, more economical and useful in the future.
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The Privatization of Roads and Highways: Human and Economic Factors
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