stat counnnter

Monday, April 02, 2007

Government Control Concretized?

Examples of why government control of the economy is not better than market control are becoming more plentiful all the time. In the April 2nd edition in the Detroit News is the front page article titled "Crumbling bridges tied to bad concrete." The story states:
The material was used for eight years in the 1970s before officials concluded it's prone to falling apart, said Richard M. Smith, manager of the agency's bridge inspection program.

The repair bill isn't cheap: $500,000 per bridge. Smith estimated as many as 1,300 bridges may be vulnerable. That would cost $650 million that a state in a budget crisis can't afford, and Smith said stopgap measures are the only option.
Had roads been privately owned it is highly unlikely the private owner would have used a new cement mixture without testing it for a number of years and only on a small number of bridges to make sure it holds up. His incentive of course would be the profit motive. Standing to lose a lot of money in law suits over crumbling cement not to mention higher insurance cost and the loss of subscribers to his roads due to bad press, there is no way he would use an untried mixture for 8 years on 1300 bridges.

But the state? No one in government stands to lose a nickel so the incentive to do it right isn't there. And yet we will always be told that providing roads is a natural and required function of government because private enterprise can't be trusted to do it right.

3 comments:

Gus Van Horn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gus Van Horn said...

I guess this just goes to show you that the only way to "concretize" anything properly in a state-run economy is ... by accident.

Couldn't resist that one!

Mike N said...

GVH:
You're right of course. And I'm glad no bolts of lightening hit nearby when you wrote that. heh