Sunday, January 13, 2013

The sprawl tsunami

Autosprawl subsidy has dominated U.S. economics for many years. A system of transporting people by car combined with spacial spread of residential infrastructure has been built and supported by direct taxpayer subsidy, indirect taxpayer subsidy, imperial theft, and deferral of cost.

This subsidy has created a way of living that is desired by billions of people. A tsunami of demand. This demand confers tremendous economic and political power on those who profit from this system.

The tsunami cannot be defeated head-on. We need a solution that redirects the flow, reduces its power, and at the same time undermines the subsidy that sustains the demand.

There is a way. Make urban public transit fare-free. Gradually remove cars from the city. Give the suburbs to organic farmers. Educate all children. Provide economic security and universal healthcare. Cities will become attractive, birthrate will drop, and autosprawl subsidy will lose political support.

We do not have to wait for national governments. We can implement this town by town.

The physics of nature is already calling for payment of deferred costs via climate change. We can act now, or we can let nature take its course.