Comment 30672

By LL (registered) - website | Posted April 30, 2009 at 21:16:09

A Smith:

Do you ever notice you use the word "free" in two exactly opposite ways? In common, everyday language, a good is "free" if everybody has access to it. You can theorize about capitalism = freedom all you want, but the proof is in the pudding. All kinds of repressive states have had market economies. More importantly, the capitalist social relations are themselves demonstrably repressive.

If road travel was not free, then traffic could be eliminated.

Give it up. Nobody wants this, especially actual capitalists. Maybe freeways will be tolled, but only to cost externalities. But the city streets will always belong to the citizens.

Denmark is free politically, but government spending comprises 51.5% of overall output, hardly a bastion of freedom.

But Denmark IS a bastion of freedom! People enjoy a high degree of civil liberties there, despite the high level of taxation, and in part because of the use-values that the government revenues purchase. Maybe the taxes are high BECAUSE people have a lot of opportunities to participate and thus POLITICALLY DEMAND what they want out of life. Maybe taxes are spent with a high degree of sensitivity to local needs because of democratic participation.

China is in the process of becoming more free every day, at least economically, if not politically.

A place where labour unions are repressed with state violence is not an economically free place to me. And I'm sure consumer activism is highly curtailed also. But that's just my working class perspective. We're only like, uh, the vast majority of people.

What surroundings are being degraded?

I value life over speed. So I value ecosystems, parks, farms, buildings over parking lots, wide lanes, gas stations, pollution. So in general, mass motoring is degrading the landscape. I don't think this is entirely subjective.

Oh the humanity, the government is forcing me to own a car!

It's not the ownership that's the problem. It's the hours that are worked to maintain that ownership. It adds insult to injury that most of the use of the auto consists of getting to work. I follow in the autonomist tradition in that I think of ever increasing commutes as unpaid work. Mass motoring = longer workweek.

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