Monday, February 2, 2009

Transport And The Environment

The last item we posted from Ken Turton on the above topic has been responded to in this comment box by someone using the "anonymous" label. All the indications are that the comment is from B.B. Bunting the author of "The Power Play : To End The Car".

What Anonymous/B.B. Bunting has to say will be of great interest to our Discussion Group, who will again be tackling the topic on Sunday. Environmental concerns are always high on our agenda. In addition to the points made by Ken Turton in the last item we posted, concerns are also regularly brought forward by another Ken - Ken Curran. He also addressed one of our earlier meetings on the topic of "The Climate Change Crisis".

In the draft for our submission to Compass on "Integrated Transport" we include a statement claiming that "the cut back in the use of private cars will save police and health services as accidents and pollution decline". Perhaps we need to stress these implications more strongly.

Since I read the Penguin edition of E.J. Mishan's "The Costs Of Economic Growth" in 1969, I have always been aware that many of the growth items which we see as economic pluses are in fact serious minuses. Mishan called them diseconomies of scale. When the accident, pollution and road building costs for private car usage is statistically assessed; we add up the costs of the services provided by crematoriums, hospitals, salvage firms and the police as if they were economic pluses rather than arising from human losses. This means that we are liable to ignore what are massive problems.

When I provided responses for a Norman Geras profile recently, this is how I responded to one of his questions - Q. If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? A. To limit the use of private transport to emergency services, with public transport being publicly owned and freely available, whilst planning for the huge economic and social consequences which would follow.

My claim that public transport should (in general) replace private transport, led to this type of criticism, which is then debated on this thread. I was seen as being totalitarian.

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