Comment 31870

By arienc (registered) | Posted June 18, 2009 at 11:11:13

Jason...not only do we save on healthcare costs, but businesses can be more profitable in a non-auto dependent community than in an auto-dependent one.

Just look at the issue of wages. If you run a business that can only be staffed by those who have cars, you have to pay a rate of income which allows empoloyees to maintain their cars as well as the other parts of their livelihood (food, shelter, clothing, etc.). However if your staff can bike to work, you may be able to attract employees whose wage demands would be lower (as they are not burdened with the nearly $10K/year it costs to finance, maintain and operate automobiles). Thereby, having public facilities geared to bicycling helps those businesses to reduce labour costs and increase profits.

With regards to the public vs. private argument...as I believe Ryan had previously posted in an article, profit as a motive does not enable the provision of services that promote quality of life.

For example, a healthcare system with profit as a priority will have incentive to let patients die, since it is more profitable then keeping them alive occupying beds and consuming medications.

Similarly, there is no incentive for "the market" to provide that which boosts the bottom line of others - (i.e. externalities). If society loses these externalities, the overall potential of that society declines. Services that have been provided by the public - education, roads, defense, transit, have created opportunities for individuals and businesses that have far outweighed their financial costs.

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