Portland, the Land of the (Food Truck) Free

Ever wondered by Portland's food truck scene kicks so much butt? Writer Lizzy Caston of Food Carts Portland offers a simple, and unsurprising, explanation

“I would describe their attitude toward regulation as laissez-faire," she says. "In the 1950’s and onward, a lot of cities re-regulated to prevent what they called 'street peddlers' or mobile food vendors – part of that 1950’s urban renewal where they got rid of sidewalks and put in freeways. Portland never did that sort of thing, so it’s not so much what Portland did as what they haven’t done. If you’re on land that is zoned commercial, meaning you could put a restaurant or a home business there, and you have a business license and get the appropriate permits, which are fairly straightforward, you can have a food cart. It does not need to move every 30 or 45 minutes as it does in some cities – as long as it has axles and can be hauled away at some point, it is considered a mobile food unit.”

Also, Reason gets results?:

“Some cities are very supportive of food trucks, such as Cleveland. They’ve realized that they’re good economic development, good temporary land use for blighted spaces, they create jobs, they bring positive street use – eyes on the street. 

Lots more Reason on food trucks.

Via Baylen Linnekin's Keep Food Legal Twitter feed. Bonus Linnekin appearance in the video below as well.

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  • ||

    H&R bloggers sure love 'em so food truck posting.

  • ||

    f*ck - some food truck posting.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    I read it as poisoning.

  • ||

    If by "kick butt," you mean "serve food that tastes like shit," there's no wonder about it.

    I doubt Ms. Mangu-Wood has ever tasted the fare from one of these roach coaches. Being a libertarian hipster douchebag doesn't mean you can cook.

  • ||

    I doubt the hipster douchebags who run them are libertarian about anything but regulations that affect them.

  • ||

    And in fairness the gay guy is probably a good argument too if that is your bag.

  • ||

    Fuck, you're tedious.

  • Warty||

    Says the dancing puppet.

  • ||

    PWN'D

  • Uh||

    I thought it was Thursday.

  • Fluffy||

    I've gotten awesome Indian and West African food from food trucks.

    Also some delicious fish tacos.

    And I live in the middle of nowhere. I have to imagine the cities have even better food trucks.

    Basically they're great for niche cuisines and products that might not support an entire restaurant devoted to them. (Or "one more" entire restaurant on the margin devoted to them.)

  • ||

    I don't recommend taking a tour of the kitchen of your favorite trendy hipster restaurant, NAGD. You might lose some illusions and some bile and stomach acid, too.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Not wearing a goatee is all well and good, now you just need to lose the neckbeard.

  • Barb in PDX||

    I live in Portland and a lot of the trucks have awesome food. Some have even expanded into regular restaurants because they have such good food. Don't knock it till you've tried it!

  • Invisible Finger||

    Aren't the food trucks in Portland more a response to the regulation of property development?

  • Fluffy||

    ANSWER THE QUESTION!

  • Warty||

    “Some cities are very supportive of food trucks, such as Cleveland.

    I can confirm that a few food trucks have sprung up around town recently. It's a very nice thing to see.

  • ||

    http://thecircledot.com/blog/w.....x3_lg.jpeg

    Excluding the gay guy, I think this is the best argument for food trucks there is.

  • ||

    They look as annoyingly "perky" as my old asian-american flatmate.

    "Hi! DB! How! Are! You! That's Great!"

  • Warty||

  • ||

    I think they are definitely perky. But not annoyingly so. The one of the right is just spectacular looking. They look like beautiful all American girl next doors to me.

  • ||

    I'm just wired today and nitpicking. They do look suitable for penile insertion.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Too beaucoup!

  • sarcasmic||

    Eat Street has showcased some Portland (OR I assume since I've never seen a food truck in Portland ME) food trucks that looked pretty tasty.

  • Destrudo||

    Just sad little hot dog carts.

  • Portland Govt Nannies||

    Thanks, H&R Katherine, for bringing this problem to our attention. We will soon enact contradictory and onerous regulations to combat this threat to public health and safety.

  • Portland restaurants||

    yea nannies!

  • Brett L||

    “I would describe their attitude toward regulation as laissez-faire," she says.

    I wonder if there are any other economic sectors that would flourish in more laissez-faire climates...

  • ||

    But people would be doing things the government can't control. They might hurt themselves or others. We can't have that.

  • MNG||

    What is this thing you do here John? You've said yourself many times here that you are a conservative, not a libertarian. As a conservative you certainly believe in government controlling things that libertarians would not want to. Yet you come on here and make these kinds of posts. Is it some kind of pathetic pandering, some need to be liked (this would explain your common charge during debates of the schoolyard "nobody here likes you!") or some fantasy that you are moving these poor benighted libertarians closer to your beloved GOP?

    WTF man? Be yourself.

  • Pip||

    Jesus Christ you grow so tiresome, MNG.

  • MNG||

    Go fuck yourself pip, are you John's boyfriend or something? Come back when you actually have something of substance to add.

  • ||

    "Come back when you actually have something of substance to add."

    I believe he just did.

  • ||

    "Is it some kind of pathetic pandering, some need to be liked (this would explain your common charge during debates of the schoolyard "nobody here likes you!")"

    Project much?

    BTW, you are the primary reason I seldome visit H&R anymore. So I show up now and what do I get? more of the same shit.

  • ||

    That, and I have been spending so much time in spelling class that I seldome have time for anything else.

  • MNG||

    EAP, as usual you are pathetic. I know you don't like me because you showed up here during Palin's run trying to pass yourself off as simply tired of Palin coverage and everyone realized you were a Palin shill. How pathetic is that?

    But what is much more pathetic is what you actually admit: that you visit H&R less because (horrors) a liberal writes some posts here. Holy shit what a colosall pussy that makes you!

  • ||

    I will pay you $100 when you can find an H&R post where I shill for Palin.

    $100.

  • MNG||

    You're absurd. I outed you shilling for Palin a bunch, but what, you think we are going to set up a paypal account for you to pay off your bet?

    Get bent shill.

  • ||

    *crickets (with their wallets intact)*

  • ||

    You're right. I'm full of shit.

  • Pip||

    You got that right.

  • Pip||

    Though to be fair, there is one thing MNG has going in his favor. He isn't Dunphy.

  • Uh||

    You're Dunphy's parasite.

  • Pip||

    No. Dunphy is society's parasite.

    I am PIN-X.

  • MNG||

    You do realize your posts are essentially grunts and boos?

  • Pip||

    Brevity is the soul of wit.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    So just by calling himself a conservative, or libertarian, or liberal, or anything, he means that he agrees with exactly everything that you think a conservative agrees with? Eatadickanddie.

  • ||

    Go search you little heart out and find some social control that I support. I would be interested in seeing it. I am myself.

    I don't support drug controls. I have actually turned against zoning. I used to support it. But have now decided the costs are not worth it. I see no need for most of the health and building codes. And I am about to say we should trash most copyright and trademark protection.

    Maybe this board has changed me. But even with the change, I have always been a leave people the hell of alone type of conservative. And am anything but a socon. People just think that I am a SOCON because I am not an atheist.

  • MNG||

    Why did you call yourself a conservative on many occasions then?

  • ||

    Because I consider myself one. I can't be a doctrinaire Libertarian because I am not a transnationalist. When it comes to things like open borders, foreign policy, and national defense, I am at serious odds with Libertarians.

  • MNG||

    I see, like a "national security conservative".

  • ||

    That would be me.

  • MNG||

    While not agreeing with it, I can respect that. I retract my pandering charge and apologize, I can't think of anything you've said that would be inconsistent with that.

  • ||

    Think of it as being, oh, "Jeffersonian".

  • MiNGe||

    But there is only black and white!

  • MNG||

    Yeah, coming from Mr. "Any criticism of Isreal means you want to cook the Jews", that is rich. A fount of nuance is you.

  • Pip||

    Wow, there certainly are a number of posters that hold you in utter distain.

    So sad, my little monkey, so sad.

  • ||

    I worked in downtown Portland for a year. There are a couple parking lots just taken over by food trucks -- trucks that never move.
    The variety is fantastic, and at really good prices. Tasty, too.

  • MNG||

    I don't understand the Reason articles on food truck freedom. That entire things is possible because of public roads (I know, I know, ROADZ!). In Libertopia some big ass conglomerate with exclusive contracts with Mickey Dees could buy up huge swaths of the roads and just deny food trucks to their hearts content.

  • ||

    And someone else could open up roads next door and let large numbers of them in to compete. And in libertopia, Mickey Dees would only have limited copyright and trademark protection. Meaning, there could be a McFoxy (there really is such a thing in the Ukraine where trademark laws are pretty much nonexistent) next door.

  • Almanian||

    I thought McFoxy's was a whorehouse brothel?

  • ||

    I saw it on No Reservations the other night. It is great. They basically rip off the food of every major fast food franchise. It really makes an interesting point about the utility of trademarks. I mean if you invent the Big Mac. But I figure out a way to make it better and cheaper, why the hell shouldn't society let me produce my better versions?

  • MNG||

    Look, there is a limited amount of roads, and it's pretty capital intensive. It's not like anyone can just build or buy a road...

    People that run food trucks often do so in part because they cannot afford to pay rent to some landlord, what makes people think that in libertopia they would be able to pay the fees that private road owners would charge (much less these exclusive contracts I'm speaking of)?

  • ||

    How would these contracts work? If I own the road, I don't own the land around it. So I fail to see how I could keep a food truck from operating on private land adjacent to my road.

    Could I stop all food trucks from going down my road? I suppose, but that would take a lot of effort on my part. But in order for that to be worth my time, there would have to be a restaurant on my road that would pay me to do that. But there wouldn't be a restaurant on every road. And they could just set up elsewhere.

  • MNG||

    In Libertopia people would own the roads and i'm guessing they wouldn't agree to let someone park on it and do business without charging something. Do you let people just squat on your land and do business? And if some major food company that did not want to compete with food trucks offered you a bunch of money to close your roads to food trucks, why wouldn't you? As long as that bunch of money is bigger than what you would make from fees charged to the trucks you'd be crazy not to.

  • ||

    Sure they would have to pay to park. But we have to pay the government to park now. Most food trucks spend their lives getting run out of places and getting parking tickets.

  • MNG||

    I get what you are saying, but there are places on public roads where you don't have to pay to park...Such a thing would be goofy on a private road...

  • ||

    I am not a supporter of entirely public roads. I think totally private roads would be like the Rhine back in the middle ages. The Rhine was the highway of the day. And every two bit noble (local thug) with river front property built a castle there and charges people a fair to pass. It reduced trade dramatically. When they finally threw out the thugs and opened the river to free navigation, everyone got rich.

    If roads were all private, trucks would have to pay a toll everywhere they went. And that toll would include a profit margin for the owner of the road not just the cost of building and maintaining it. That would make transportation costs unduly expensive. I don't think it would be a good thing at all.

    Of all the harms the government does, building roads is not one of them.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    What's to stop a road company from making a throughfare free to everyone EXCEPT for food trucks? The actual road would be the loss leader, and they'd make their money by charging the food trucks for the primo location and any parking spaces their customers use.

  • ||

    Sure they would have to pay to park. But we have to pay the government to park now.

    Technically, feeding the meter is to pay the cost of enforcing the parking laws. It's not the same thing as rent, so you don't gain any quasi-property rights like tenants do.

  • Fluffy||

    Most roads would not have a single abutter.

    It's very likely that some of my abutters would welcome the presence of food trucks in the area, because they would increase the number of people coming to the area.

    Think of malls. Malls are basically private pedestrian roads.

    How many malls do you know of where McDonald's has handed the mall owner a big pile of cash to kick out every other food vendor?

    And how many malls do you know of where the mall company has gone the opposite direction, and jammed the walkways of the mall full of kiosks / carts?

    Nobody wants to own a dead mall (or road). Deliberately barring traffic from your mall (or road) might pay off in certain situations, but when you do that you run the risk of killing off your mall (or road).

  • ||

    Those kiosk vendors and food court vendors besides McD's are paying the mall for the right to be there. The kiosk vendors in particular have some pretty serious restrictions on their activities, too. You're not going to have a cutlery vendor right in front of a kitchen store, for instance.

    Food truck vendors are in food trucks because they can't afford to pay for real estate where they want to operate.

  • Fluffy||

    That's not really relevant.

    The discussion at hand is whether an owner of a private road would naturally want to let one user or abutter of that road dictate the use of the road in exchange for a payment.

    I'm just using the mall example because it shows that in situations analogous to a private road, owners face powerful incentives to NOT make such an arrangement with one of their renters.

  • Fluffy||

    I also tend to think that the most valuable roads would be:

    1. The roads with the most traffic.

    2. The roads that were restricted access to highly desirable, expensive and exclusive areas.

    So maybe there would be private road operators who would bar food trucks (along with a lot of other traffic) from #2 - but any road operator going for #1 has every incentive to allow anything and everything that will increase traffic.

  • MNG||

    Not as long as any food company was willing to pay one dollar more to shut them out than the road operator could get in fees from the food trucks.

  • Fluffy||

    See my 3:55 post above.

    We've been running a continent-wide experiment in enclosed private pedestrian spaces for fifty years, and I have yet to hear of such a case.

    Restricting traffic to benefit one tenant is a quick ticket to a death spiral, and the owners and operators of our existing private enclosed pedestrian roads seem to have realized that and don't do it.

  • Mo||

    No mall I have seen has a food kiosk. All the food is in the food court or in a dedicated storefront.

  • Fluffy||

    I've seen it. Usually it's things like smoothies or candy - not hot food - but something tells me if I went down to my local mall and said I wanted to have an Indian food kiosk, they wouldn't say, "We don't serve your kind here!" They'd say, "The city would never let us down that!" And that doesn't really count.

    Besides, the real point is that the mall owner AND his tenants BOTH generally realize that it's not in their interest to try to have the mall have only one food option.

    In fact, most business development people for chains will refuse to go into malls where they will be the only provider, or where there are a lot of vacant storefronts. Because you need a wide range of shopping options to generate the foot traffic that makes renting in the mall worthwhile.

  • PIRS||

    "Look, there is a limited amount of roads, and it's pretty capital intensive. It's not like anyone can just build or buy a road..."

    IN our current Nation-State paradigm this is true - but you specified libertopia where there would be far more freedom to buy, design and sell road services. We currently have a particular view of the way roads should "look" and "feel" and operate. This is because the state has a monopoly. At one time all cars were black. Who knows what kinds of innovations could occur in a free market.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    It's not like anyone can just build or buy a road...

    This has less to do with lacking the capital to purchase roads and streets as local, state and federal governments' unwillingness to release its blood choke on transit and commerce.

  • Almanian||

    Well, we'll just counteract that with the road that I own that allows anyone to sell food EXCEPT Mickie D's.

    Problem solved! Next...

  • ||

    And so do you honestly think that in such a situation everyone would just eat McDonalds and nothing else? Or that such an arrangement would produce anywhere near the revenue necessary to justify the enormous expense of "buying up all of the roads"? Hell, there is nothing stopping a conglomerate now from buying all of the frontage property on a big road now. Yet, they never seem to do this.

  • ||

    The Public/Private spin is irrelevant, as evidenced by how various Public bodies act like your fictional big ass conglomerate.

    I suspect that food trucks have an appeal due to cost and convenience, and how they demonstrate diversity of choice. And they also help to demonstrate some of the silliness of the set of regulations that apply to fixed site vendors. Because when you compare the regulatory burden between the two types of businesses, you have to ask yourself is food truck freedom really that bad?

    But I'm still with Tulpa on this topic.

  • ||

    What are you talking about!? Food truck freedom is the biggest libertarian issue in America today! It's even bigger than raw milk deliveries!

  • Fluffy||

    Raw milk deliveries is a pretty big issue in principle.

    It's most of the other issues in microcosm.

  • ||

    I agree with you guys on raw milk deliveries, but that's a totally separate issue. The govt has no stake in what milk you drink, but it does have a stake in how public property is used.

  • Uh||

    KMW is Reason's food writer. What the hell else is she supposed to write about? Ron Paul?

  • ||

    Something relevant? Something interesting? There's only so many food truck stories to go round ...

  • ||

    Food trucks are the new gay marriage.

  • Fluffy||

    I completely see what you're saying.

    I think that it's more a function of the fact that we're constantly propagandized about the great freedoms extended to all by the presence of "robust public spaces" - but the food truck stories tend to expose the fact that our modern "robust public spaces" really aren't so free, and uses of those spaces that contradict the grand visions of our planner overlords are usually stomped out.

    I think it's less a celebration of the food trucks themselves, and more instinctive rooting for anyone sticking the Man in the eye.

  • MNG||

    I get that, I like food trucks and am glad that we have public spaces they could use (when local governments are being dicks and not letting them). But of course I'm a big defender of public spaces. It just seems strange coming from here...

  • ||

    Since we don't have private roads and everyone is paying for them, anyone ought to be able to do business on them. The fact that such spaces would not exist in libertopia, doesn't change the current situation of the commons. If we are going to have commons, then let people use them.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Common property can form naturally, when no one person exercises total ownership over the space.

  • ||

    Sounds like a good reason for the govt to prevent anyone from gaining a foothold on it.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Which is what they are good at doing.

  • ||

    The roads are not intended for doing business, they're intended to allow traffic to move.

    Just because property is public doesn't mean it can be used for any reason anyone wants to use it for. If I decide to use a 100 foot segment of the left lane of I-95 as a campsite one night, would you support this use of the commons?

  • ||

    But you would be interfering with the function of the road then. If you parked on the side of the road and didn't hold up traffic, there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to do that.

  • ||

    You're preventing other people from parking there.

  • ||

    I mean, if I paid the meter, would you support me using a parking space in a busy business district as a campsite?

  • ||

    Sure.

  • ||

    Nothing says freedom like parking a truck on public property and preventing other people from using that space.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    If you have a lot adjacent to a street, chances are your property goes to the centerline of the street. That is where a surveyor would define the boundary. The "road conglomerate" would have to buy that section of the street from YOU. And even then, the street would still be accessible to anyone as a public easement (which is compatible with natural property law theories, which many libertarians agree with). The "road conglomerate" would not necessarily be able to charge anyone or restrict anything that was not restricted before.

  • ||

    Thanks, Col.

    The Somalian Road Corporation would actually own an easement that allowed it to install, operate and maintain a road. I can't imagine why any property owner would allow SRC to restrict the kinds of businesses that could use the road for transit.

    As for parking, well, the SRC easement could include the right to allow/charge for parking, or not, along the roadway. It would depend.

    But there's nothing about a private road that you would expect to restrict food trucks.

  • ||

    That's not always the case; in many jurisdictions the right-of-way is actually public property, not an easement.

    And of course, even easements are subject to restrictions; despite the fact that the grass between the sidewalk and road in front of my house is in the right-of-way easement, that doesn't give other people the right to plant and harvest tomatoes there as if it were their own property.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    The streets may have been laid out by the local government, with the land developing around them. Or they may have formed "naturally", with the government later taking them over. In either case, what made it right for the government to do so in the first place?

  • ||

    It varies, Tulpa, no question. Mostly, I think, on when the area was settled.

    But, (legal pedantry follows), whether a road is public property or not doesn't depend on whether it is built over an easement or fee simple owned by a government.

  • Jeffersonian||

    Why would they deny them when they could charge some nominal rent for use of what used to be exclusively a cost center?

  • ||

    Uh, nothing in the law prevents big conglomerates from buying up multi-square-mile swaths of commercial real estate now and selling exclusivity rights to McDonalds, yet it doesn't happen. And please don't tell me it's because of the threat of street vendors.

  • Pip||

    Minneapolis loves it's food trucks.

    http://www.citypages.com/micro.....truck-map/

  • Old Man With Candy||

    Portland? Jesus. Austin is where butt is kicked in the food truck world. Just finished a yummy lunch from the crepe truck. Dinner last night at the Vietnamese truck.

    Next you'll be telling me that the music is better in Seattle or some such shit.

  • Old Man With Candy||

    And when Portland invents something as awesome as migas, get back to me, OK?

  • Fluffy||

    I am not a supporter of entirely public roads. I think totally private roads would be like the Rhine back in the middle ages. The Rhine was the highway of the day. And every two bit noble (local thug) with river front property built a castle there and charges people a fair to pass. It reduced trade dramatically. When they finally threw out the thugs and opened the river to free navigation, everyone got rich.

    If roads were all private, trucks would have to pay a toll everywhere they went. And that toll would include a profit margin for the owner of the road not just the cost of building and maintaining it. That would make transportation costs unduly expensive. I don't think it would be a good thing at all.

    Of all the harms the government does, building roads is not one of them.

    I think it's more likely that you would see development clustered around non-road long-haul transportation sites (railroad spurs and airports), and there wouldn't be private road operators so much as there would be landlords who didn't just rent out buildings but also the road network those buildings were on. Along with homeowner's associations that maintained roads.

    I doubt ubiquitous toll roads are actually the natural form for purely private road development to take. It's more likely that someone would say, "Oh shit, I want to build and sell houses here; I better build roads too, and turn them over to the HOA, 'cause who's gonna buy a house they can't drive to?"

  • ||

    At the level of small feeder roads sure. But where is the incentive to build big city to city roads without the profit for tolls? I think a purely private interstate highway system would be a nightmare of tolls. Suppose I am the guy who owns the Tapenzee of Delaware Memorial Bridges. I am going to charge a huge premium and make a mint off of those places. And that money will just be passed along in the price of goods. I would probably make much better than market returns on my bridges.

  • Fluffy||

    Well, you see that as a problem because you are wedded to the model of intercity and interstate road traffic.

    It's a model that only exists in its current form because the state decided to MAKE it exist.

    Would our exact current public road network work perfectly in a private system? Probably not.

    But neither would our legacy education and health care systems.

    "We've fucked it up so badly that now you have no choice but to let us continue to run it," is a shitty argument, but unfortunately it's paradoxically a pretty compelling one right now.

  • ||

    I love our innercity and inerstate mode of travel. I love driving. I can get places faster, easier and cheaper than any of my ancestors ever dreamed. I think my federal gas taxes are some of best taxes I pay.

    Seriously, would a train system be any better? I don't think so. If you give me a choice between what I have now or going to a private system where I pay a toll everywhere or face the prospect of taking a train or a plane, I am taking the status quo.

    Just because the government does it doesn't mean it is all bad. I think public roads are one of the few goods the government actually provides well. And the last hill Libertarians should be wanting to die on.

  • ||

    This.

    The only problem I see with libertarian support for public roads is that our opponents use it as a wedge to show that you can't criticize govt coercion in licensing interior designers if you support govt coercion in building roads.

    This is more of a problem for natural law libertarianism than for that developed from utilitarian thought...which is why NLLs tend to sink into anarcho-capitalism eventually.

  • ||

    That is one of the more annoying leftist fallacies. Just because you admit the government can and should do some things, you do not forfeit the right to object to it doing other things.

    It is just this kind of fallacy that the old saying "consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds" is talking about.

  • robc||

    Fuck utilitarianism.

  • robc||

    Actually, I would prefer more tolls on our current interstates. Im fine with the gas tax paying for it too, but tolls make more sense, IMO. And its not like you would stop every ten feet, it could be exits only -- get a ticket at entrance, hand it over at exit, pay for distance traveled.

    I think our interstates got screwed up royally by going thru cities though. The design SHOULD have been to put a loop road around each major city and have the interstate tangent it.

    Intracity traffic and intercity traffic didnt need to mix as much as they do.

  • ||

    Limited-access highways through city centers are a serious boon to commuters, though. You could argue that they shouldn't be interstates but it's going to be hard to argue they shouldn't exist.

  • robc||

    I didnt argue they shouldnt exist. I specifically stated they shouldnt be part of the interstate system.

  • robc||

    Actually, those roads are the exact ones the progressives bring up when they talk about suburbs being subsidized. And they are right.

    Those roads accelerated the move to the suburbs by keeping commute times low. And, if they are primarily used for work commuting, they are replacable with trains, POSSIBLY affordably.

  • robc||

    Note: Of course those trains should be privately owned.

  • ||

    There are plausible and widely-known alternatives to the status quo in education and health care. There aren't any viable alternatives (other than toll roads, which would be an easily-monopolized mess) to the current system random-access long-distance travel.

    At some point, you an-caps have to start coming up with viable solutions, not just complaining about the current system. "Let's try it and see what happens" is a valid approach for making a salad, but it's not so great for setting up a government (or lack thereof).

  • robc||

    Paragraph 1: canals.

    Paragraph 2: Bullshit (although Im not an ancap, an ancap wouldnt support any government).

  • ||

    Canals? You're joking, right? They lost to railroads, that other libertarian bugaboo, and you're proposing them as a soultion?

  • robc||

    I saw a study once (may have been by a crackpot) that said that canals would have been able to handle the problem if trains hadnt.

    Did trains actually beat canals because they were better (maybe) or because they were government supported (also maybe)?

  • robc||

    Like I told the idiot on the thread last week, GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY WAY, is a solution.

  • ||

    It's not a solution when you're a tiny, weak minority in the body politic.

  • robc||

    Its a solution, it may not be adopted due to being a tiny, weak minority, but we are suggesting solutions.

    Or, even a better way to put it, 300 million plans are better than 1 plan.

  • robc||

    Or, as I usually state it: Adopt moral means and accept whatever ends come.

  • Colonel_Angus||

    Development would basically depend much less on local streets, because they are expensive to maintain and impossible to function as toll roads because access can not be restricted. Existing streets would basically degrade to dirt public thoroughfares, maintained to the extent that people felt like it (mainly the people who rely on the street access, such as business owners). With streets less suitable for driving and less improved road available, development would adjust to a higher density form, which in turn would make railroads, airports, waterways, and high volume highways more economical as private services.

  • robc||

    Existing streets would basically degrade to dirt public thoroughfares

    I doubt it. HOAs and neighborhood associations might maintain them.

  • ||

    HOAs, the guardians of freedom.

  • robc||

    The one my old condo was in was annoying, but they never broke down my door and shot my dog. So they've got that going for them.

    My current house is HOA free. I live in two cities somehow, didnt see the need for an HOA too.

  • Mo||

    The one my old condo was in was annoying, but they never broke down my door and shot my dog. So they've got that going for them.

    You never painted your house a non-approved color, have you?

  • ||

    Suppose I am the guy who owns the Tapenzee of Delaware Memorial Bridges. I am going to charge a huge premium and make a mint off of those places.

    Absent a government enforced monopoly, your "excessive" profits will induce a competitor to either establish a ferry service or build another bridge.

  • ||

    Maybe. But a bridge takes a lot of time and money to build. Let's say I am making 10% over market return. But if someone builds a second bridge, there will be too much capacity and neither one of us will make market returns. In that case, the second bridge never gets built and I make my money. In one place that is not a big deal. But all over the country, it becomes a huge deal.

  • ||

    This argument works for most monopolies, but roads are different. Assuming you were careful in choosing where to build your road or bridge, no competitor is going to be able to produce a product as good as yours for as low a cost, so they're immediately at a market disadvantage, even before we consider startup costs.

  • robc||

    Roads come closest to being the one true "natural" monopoly. Well, national defense is probably closer, but roads are still close.

    Which makes the Roadz!!! argument even more stupid. It would be last in line for marketization, even in libertopia.

  • ||

    Not as long as any food company was willing to pay one dollar more to shut them out than the road operator could get in fees from the food trucks.

    Them are some powerful assumptions you've got there.

  • argo||

    had the best lomo saltado i've ever had from a portland food truck.

    kogi in oc is great. as is seabirds (most if not only edible vegan food ever).

  • ||

    The obvious solution:

    FLYING CARS!

  • ||

    And jetpacks. Where the fuck is my jetpack?

  • robc||

    I would agree, but most of you fuckers cant drive in 2 dimensions, Im not trusting you with 3.

  • Fluffy||

    The only problem I see with libertarian support for public roads is that our opponents use it as a wedge to show that you can't criticize govt coercion in licensing interior designers if you support govt coercion in building roads.

    That's one problem.

    The flip side of that problem is that it conditions people to submission to bureaucracy.

    Not only that, but generally transition to adulthood is now for most people synonymous with my first chance to submit to bureaucracy.

    "Hurray! I turned 16! Now I can go wait in line in a government office to take a government test, and then go out and take a government-approved course, and then come back and take another government-approved test, and then they'll give me my biometric ID, and then I'll be a REAL LIVE PERSON!"

  • Fluffy||

    At some point, you an-caps have to start coming up with viable solutions, not just complaining about the current system.

    Unfortunately to come up with another solution I'd need you to point me to the nearest continent peopled by stone age savages I can kick off their land so we can start over from scratch.

    I freely acknowledged above that we're stuck with the current situation because we've had it so long that we're irrevocably committed to it.

    The theoretical discussion is still interesting and important, however - because if and when our current land-use system collapses (as the liberals and environmentalists and survivalists insist it eventually will) I want the point established that the transportation system that's failing is a state system and not necessarily the "free market" or "capitalist" system.

  • ||

    "...wondered by..."

    What are you talking about?

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