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Author: Walter Block

Human and Economic Factors



The Mises Institute is pleased to introduce Walter Block's remarkable new treatise on private roads, a 494-page book that will cause you to rethink the whole of the way modern transportation networks operate. It is bold, innovative, radical, compelling, and shows how free-market economic theory is the clarifying lens through which to see the failures of the state and the alternative that is consistent with human liberty.

He shows that even the worst, off-the-cuff scenario of life under private ownership of roads would be fantastic by comparison to the existing reality of government ownership of roads, which is awful in ways we don't entirely realize until Block fully explains it (think highway deaths).

But that is only the beginning of what Professor Block has done. He has made a lengthy, detailed, and positive case that the privatization of roads would be socially optimal in every way. It would save lives, curtail pollution, save us (as individuals!) money, save us massive time, introduce accountability, and make transportation a pleasure instead of a huge pain in the neck.

Because this is the first-ever complete book on this topic, the length and detail are absolutely necessary. He shows that this is not some libertarian pipe dream but the most practical application of free-market logic. Block is dealing with something that confronts us every day. And in so doing, he illustrates the power of economic theory to take an existing set of facts and help see them in a completely different way.

What's also nice is that the prose has great passion about it, despite its scholarly detail. Block loves answering the objections — aren’t roads public goods? Aren't roads too expensive to build privately? — And making the case, fully aware that he has to overcome a deep and persistent bias in favor of public ownership. The writer burns with a moral passion on the subjects of highway deaths and pollution issues. His "Open Letter to Mothers Against Drunk Driving" is a thrill to read!

475 Pages


PRIVATIZATION OF WATER SERVICES IN THE UNITED STATES

Author: National Research Council

An Assessment of Issues and Experience



In the quest to reduce costs and improve the efficiency of water and wastewater services, many communities in the United States are exploring the potential advantages of privatization of those services. Unlike other utility services, local governments have generally assumed responsibility for providing water services. Privatization of such services can include the outright sale of system assets, or various forms of public-private partnerships - from the simple provision of supplies and services, to private design construction and operation of treatment plants and distribution systems. Many factors are contributing to the growing interest in the privatization of water services. Higher operating costs, more stringent federal water quality and waste effluent standards, greater customer demands for quality and reliability, and an aging water delivery and wastewater collection and treatment infrastructure are all challenging municipalities that may be short of funds or technical capabilities. For municipalities with limited capacities to meet these challenges, privatization can be a viable alternative. "Privatization of Water Services" evaluates the fiscal and policy implications of privatization, scenarios in which privatization works best, and the efficiencies that may be gained by contracting with private water utilities.

145 Pages


THE PRIVATIZATION OF THE OCEANS

Author: Rognvaldur Hannesson

"Should anyone own the oceans' fish? The Privatization of the Oceans tackles this controversial question in a lucid exposition of the history, politics, and economics of fisheries. With insight and wit, Rögnvaldur Hannesson explains how the global trend toward property rights in fisheries is the contentious but unavoidable path to economic prosperity." Susan Hanna, Professor of Marine Economics, Oregon State University

202 Pages


MAKING COMPETITION WORK IN ELECTRICITY

Author: Sally Hunt

This book was suggested by the CEO of my company for every new MBA recruits. I found this book really helpful in learning a lot about the industry.

The book is divided into two parts. The first part explains what are the components, who are the players, what an ideal industry would look like, etc of an electric industry. The second part is dedicated to the US electric industry.

The author does a wonderful job of explaining the basic fundamentals of the industry. At times some concepts get hard to comprehend because the concepts are unusually complicated. For someone new to this industry, it might require more than one reading and I can bet that it is worth their time.

This is a great book for anyone interested in learning about the industry.


464 Pages
THE BEST LAID PLANS

Author: Randal O’Toole

How Government Planning Harms Your Quality of Life, Your Pocketbook, and Your Future



Drawing on 30 years of experience reviewing hundreds of government plans, Randal O'Toole shows that, thanks to government planners, American cities are choked with congestion, major American housing markets have become unaffordable, and the cost of government infrastructure is spiraling out of control. The book makes the case for repeal of federal planning laws and closure of government planning offices. Every American who worries about the insidious growth of the Nanny State must read this book.

417 Pages


HOW OVERREGULATION CREATES SPRAWL (EVEN IN A CITY WITHOUT ZONING)

Author: Michael Lewyn, Florida Coastal School of Law

Numerous commentators have suggested that the spread-out, automobile-dependent urban form (often referred to as "sprawl") that dominates metropolitan America is at least partially caused by government regulation of land use. Other commentators argue that the fate of Houston, Texas may seem to rebut that theory. Houston is America's only large city without a formal zoning code. Yet Houston is as automobile-dependent and sprawling as many cities with zoning. It could therefore be argued that automobile-dependent sprawl is the inevitable result of the free market, based on the following chain of logic: Assumption 1: Because Houston lacks zoning, Houston has an unregulated, unplanned real estate market. In other words, Houston = the free market at work. Assumption 2: Houston is an automobile-dependent, sprawling city. In other words, Houston = an example of sprawl. Conclusion: Therefore, a city, like Houston, which allows the free market to govern land use will (like Houston) typically become an automobile-dependent, sprawling city-and sprawl is thus a product of the free market, rather than of government interference with consumer preferences. In other words, because Houston = the free market at work, and Houston = sprawl, the free market leads to sprawl. The policy consequence of this chain of logic (at least for people who highly value limited government) is that government should not discourage sprawl, for what the free market has put together, government should not tear asunder. My article rebuts this conclusion by critiquing one of its underlying assumptions - the assumption that Houston is a free-market role model. In fact, a wide variety of municipal regulatory and spending policies have made Houston more sprawling and automobile-dominated than would a more free-market-oriented set of policies. The article also proposes free-market, anti-sprawl alternatives to those government policies.

44 Pages


Updated: 12/30/11

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