Empirical evidence tells us that most marginal ideas (ranging from PETA's "Your kids ought to drink beer, rather than milk, because beer isn't ripped from a cow's udder" campaign to the libertarian "Privatize the roads" campaign) are typically ignored or ridiculed by popular culture and non-intellectuals. If we stick to the assumption that 'people make rational choices,' the obvious
This raises another issue (not related to crazy ideas defined as ideas though to be crazy in popular culture). What's wrong with privatizing roads and streets? What's more wrong with this than privatizing religion? It seems to me that there are good arguments against privatization of SOME public domain, but that these arguments are not those commonly adumbrated.
In two words, the argument against privatization would go this way. The existence of a non-regulated, non-excludable domain, the public domain, is a public good. Or, at least, it is a public good provided it remains relatively small: it is wanted by some individuals, and the others don't care. Alternatively, in a somewhat Lockean sense (the famous Lockean proviso), it could be said that the maintainance of a public domain is required by a Buchanan-type social contract. Hence, the necessity of some public authority maintaining public roads and streets.
This argument would imply that minimum regulation is part of the definition of the public domain. For instance, private owners could (of course) exclude smokers or institute any kind of private apartheid, but NO-smoking in real public places would be forbidden.
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