What About the Roads

In libertarian circles the phrase, “What about the roads?” has become a favorite when mocking statists. Statists believe that the government brought roads to humanity in the same way the Greek believed Prometheus brought fire. It is their belief that without the state there would be no roads so this story my be heresy:

Their livelihood was being threatened, and they were tired of waiting for government help, so business owners and residents on Hawaii’s Kauai island pulled together and completed a $4 million repair job to a state park — for free.


And if the repairs weren’t made, some business owners faced the possibility of having to shut down.

Ivan Slack, co-owner of Napali Kayak, said his company relies solely on revenue from kayak tours and needs the state park to be open to operate. The company jumped in and donated resources because it knew that without the repairs, Napali Kayak would be in financial trouble.

“If the park is not open, it would be extreme for us, to say the least,” he said. “Bankruptcy would be imminent. How many years can you be expected to continue operating, owning 15-passenger vans, $2 million in insurance and a staff? For us, it was crucial, and our survival was dependent on it. That park is the key to the sheer survival of the business.”

So Slack, other business owners and residents made the decision not to sit on their hands and wait for state money that many expected would never come. Instead, they pulled together machinery and manpower and hit the ground running March 23. Watch the volunteers repairing the road ยป

And after only eight days, all of the repairs were done, Pleas said. It was a shockingly quick fix to a problem that may have taken much longer if they waited for state money to funnel in.

Once again those evil capitalists stepped in and helped people. While the state claimed repairing the road would require $4 million, a massive sum they didn’t have available, business owners facing bankruptcy decided to move in and fix the roads necessary to get customers to the business. This also demonstrates one of many possible ways transportation can be provided without the state.

What good is a business if customers can’t get to it? None. Businesses need to have a means for customers to get from their homes to the places of business. Even Internet based businesses like Amazon require infrastructure to get their goods from warehouses to customers’ homes. The bottom line is transportation is needed for commerce so it’s in the best interests of businesses to ensure proper infrastructure exists.

Most people get caught up in a vicious cycle where they believe things are done the way they are done because that is the only way they can be done. Entrepreneurs are different, they see the way things are currently done as inefficient or ineffective and work to provide them better. This is why the free market works, innovators see a need and try to fulfill that need. Sometimes they are wrong and end up going broke but other times they are successful and are rewarded for their efforts by customers.

Roads are no different than any other good or service, they can be provided by any individual or group of individuals. The key difference is that, unlike the state, the reward individuals receive is based on how well they provide a good or service. If the good or service they provide is done so inefficiently then another entrepreneur will move in and provide it more efficiently. If the good or service they provide is unwanted by consumers then they go broke. When the state provides an inefficient servie the people are forced to pay for it regardless and no hope of competition exists in most cases. We get caught in a vicious cycle of being provided shitty goods and services while also being force fed the idea that the good and service can only be provided by the state, that the market is incapable of such a feat.