Sunday, March 21, 2010

Cost Efficient (Green Jobs)

If you read just about any report on sustainable living, or public transportation advocates, you will most defiantly hear the argument that mass transit should be promoted, and subsidized, because it is more cost efficient, relative to automobiles. While I may question the analysis of many of these reports, lets give them the benefit of the doubt on this matter. So, let assume that mass transit is less costly that using private automobiles. Does this mean that there is a market failure, and public action is needed to promote mass transit? Of course not. Lets make an analogy to determine why this is the case. It is less costly to own and operate a bicycle, relative to a motorcycle. In addition, the two serve the same basic purpose. So why do people use motorcycle instead of bicycles. the answer, of course, is the motorcycle provides some benefits that bicycles do not. Speed, comfort, pleasure are all possible benefits. We also know that these benefits must outweigh the added costs that the motorcycle provides. The same holds for personal cars, relative to mass transit. This is one of the many reasons why I feel that many of the arguments for "sustainable living" and mass transit are particularly weak.

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