A few readers are focusing on this statement of mine: “But I don’t see how levelling fines on the legal use of private property is a huge triumph for capitalism.” They object that the roads in London aren’t private property.
Touché, I suppose. Though I was, in fact, referring to their cars as private property, not the roads. That said, I don’t see how this has much to do with anything. Tolls on public roads are hardly a policy breakthrough and they are hardly famously capitalistic. When someone says “pure market economics” are at work I usually assume there are some mechanisms at work to establish prices etc. Also, businesses in downtown London have in effect been levied with a new tax, since buying anything in the city just became a bit more expensive than buying the same product in the suburbs. Look: I don’t think Andrew’s really a red and I don’t think the policy is outrageous, but let’s not call taxes and fines market breakthroughs simply because they force people to change their behavior. My sense is 90% of NRO readers would not respond to a huge new fine on driving to their place of work as a triumph of the free market.