Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
The Swedish (heavy) industry has been burned by power deregulation and recoils from anything that sounds like privatization. The new pm has argued against Cevian assaulting Volvo etc. Industrial capitalism is making a comeback against financial capitalism.

Schools and hospital privatization is not anything to worry about as it will still be tax-payed. If the private schools (which anyone can be admitted to free of charge) do better that the public schools it's a good thing and if they don't they'll close. It's a win-win situation.

On a tangent, the pm has his kids in public school in spite of a majority of schools in his hometown being private.

The congestion tax is a neoliberal idea, which is why Federley and the neolibs support it. The argument is that roads are a good like any other and the price of using it should be decided by supply and demand. That is, if there is a large demand on roads and a small supply (=congestion) there should be a cost so the poor stays away from driving so the rich can have a nicer driving experience.

What if we did like this in the hospital emergency room or in public transport?

- Sorry we just have had a large car accident so we can't take care of your gunshot wound right now. But you can cut the line if you pay €1000.


- Because of the congestion in the subway we have decided to increase fare prices to €10 so supply meets demand without inefficient congestion. Have a nice day.

Those are absurd solutions. If there is a congestion for a vital good the solution is not to increase prices but increase capacity. That is build a new hospital, or in the matter of congestion, build new highways, railroads and metros.

Arguing that prices should be allowed to increase to spur new investment (in hospitals or roads etc) is irrelevant as those things are not operating on a free market so it won't work, and more importantly, I do not want to live in a society where the price of those things are decided by the market. Call me a commie bastard if you like. ;)

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 07:05:42 AM EST
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I remain suspicious of this alliance. I can't help but fear that for all their pretty talk the Moderate party is really just doing the best they can to make sure that as much money goes to the wealthiest segment of society as they can get away with. The alliance did push the traditional "welfare recipients are a bunch of lazy cheats and lowering payments will lead to more people with work" before the election.
Roads are not like a hospital emergency room. There are alternatives, like public transport. I don't think increasing road capacity is really a solution for traffic congestion in major cities. There is only so much space to go around. Where are you going to put all those new roads? Roads are not a vital good when you have a public transport system! More roads also typically yields more traffic rather than improving congestion. So more polluting vehicles in city centres, which the inhabitants of the same with some right disfavour. If one believes (as I do) that dense urban areas are preferable to suburban sprawl with long commuting distances, cars ought to be kept out of the cities so they remain a reasonable place to live.
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 08:47:51 AM EST
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Re: The argument is that roads are a good like any other and the price of using it should be decided by supply and demand.

Supply and demand are in balance anyway, with the total price (including non-monetary) including the inconvenience, additional fuel consumption, etc., caused by the congestion. I think that the argument is better staged in terms of differing negative externalities of driving at different times, noting that differential monetary pricing is a non-destructive transfer of tokens, while congestion destroys actual fuel and slices of human lifetime.

It is often argued that X should have a lower price because the poor will be more affected, but this applies with similar force to all non-luxury goods X. In all instances, to act on this would distort prices and incentives. This suggests that it is far better to address inequalities more directly, on the income side.

Words and ideas I offer here may be used freely and without attribution.

by technopolitical on Wed Sep 27th, 2006 at 06:40:27 PM EST
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