Eric D. Dixon

It appears I jumped the gun a little when I wrote my last blog entry, about our mention in Paul Jacob's Common Sense radio commentary. It turns out that Show-Me Institute scholar R.W. Hafer's op-ed on bridge construction and traffic pricing also inspired a much longer article by Paul, for his weekly column.

And, of course, a longer column deserves a longer excerpt:

As Hafer points out, if pricing "works for movie tickets, electricity, and seats at Busch Stadium, why not for space on the bridge during rush hour?"

Common sense tells me he's right. But once you've been enticed by a commons, it becomes harder to see the sense in the non-commons way of organizing resources . . . even if every bit of our experience tells us that this way of doing things leads to disaster, and to further demands to set up more free institutions." At greater expense.

I guess that's why, when Hafer (or I) suggest that a bridge be priced, so to give all commuters better incentives to manage their own commutes, we're just going to look like trolls to some folk.

But remember: the troll in "Three Billy Goats Gruff" was greedy. Had he settled for a small toll, instead of demanding to eat the fattest passers-by, he could have collected his earnings and gone to market for a meal. Instead, the biggest of the goats came along and shoved him into the river.

If anything, the opposition to tolls is trollish . . . but maybe we should forget fairy tales when thinking about bridges. Apply a bit of reason, instead.

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Eric Dixon

Eric D. Dixon