The Third Place: Modes of Transportation (Pt. II of III)

Back in Part I, I covered the topic of the modes of transportation made possible by the State of Total Mobilization. Most conventional transportation methods came into being throughout the 20th century and can be categorized into three Industries in the Manufacturing Sector of the VCS Economy. I also addressed the potential compatibility that will arise from trying to rely on the production processes of Fordism-Taylorism and Post-Fordism. What the Council State and Totality should strive for is a different kind of production process that complements Production for Dasein and can be conducted alongside the Work-Standard and Mission-Type Economic Planning (MTEP). What I will be discussing here in Part II is another dimension of the same issue described earlier in Part I, only in this context we will be addressing mass transportation systems.

Mass transportation, like the three Industries described earlier, are also Productive Properties which fall under the economic organizations of SAEs, SOEs, and NSEs. In Production for Dasein, important railways, seaports, and airlines will be brought under the Council State’s administration and ownership, whereas those operating within the transportation networks of major cities to be under the administration and ownership of the Municipal governments. As Productive Properties, mass transportation systems create Actual Arbeit and Actual Geld from running the transports and picking up and delivering passengers to their destinations, in addition to receiving Actual Geld from the passengers. The best aspect of this arrangement is that the Council State and the Municipal governments will not only find ways to finance the costs of operating mass transportation systems, but they will also receive tax revenue from selling tickets. That should deter any ideas about trying to ‘privatize’ them (i.e. restore the Private/Common Property-as-Wealth paradigm of Production for Profit and Production for Utility).

The presence of mass transportation systems, while it may at first limit the ability of the three Industries to create their own sources of Arbeit and Geld, can be reconciled once they realize that the Work-Plans at the Kontor can be used to make contractual agreements to provide the vehicles required for the transportation systems. They can also be expected to coexist alongside Industries responsible for the production of rail transportation and their subsequent maintenance and repairs. If everything goes according to plan, the Totality should be able to have plenty of ways to commute from the Household to the workspace and back anywhere between several minutes at least to a few hours at most, assuming they took a few detours to visit other places along the way.

On Urban Planning and MTEP

Note that Economic Planning is not the same as Urban Planning, at least not in the manner which both are conventionally understood in the social sciences and in the technical fields. While Economic Planners are more focused on, shall we say, the “portfolios” of their respective Enterprises, Urban Planners are interested in developing the infrastructure of major cities and their surrounding areas. They work with architects, engineers, cartographers, geologists, and other relevant Professions in deciding how a city develops and the forms which it might take across generations. One of their Legal Duties happens to be about determining how mass transportation systems coexist alongside vehicles owned by individual Selves. An automobile driving around a busy street is not going to be the only one present. Its motorist will need to obey traffic rules and the right of way for oncoming traffic, from other motorists to pedestrians and mass transportation systems. People need to cross the street, just as buses and trains have to stop occasionally to deliver passengers to their next stop.

What Urban Planners are expected to accomplish as part of their Profession is to map out the possible actions of everyone navigating the streets on any given day in the workweek. The people riding on buses or trams and trolleys need to have lanes separate from those used by motorists, bicyclists, and pedestrians. Unlike their counterparts in Production for Profit or Production for Utility, in Production for Dasein, the Urban Planners need to be consulting with the Economic Planners and Inspectors regarding the creation of Arbeit and Geld by mass transportation systems and Personal Properties of motorists. As with any other Profession, Enterprise, Industry or Economic Sector, the Council State maintains a set of rules and regulations on the working conditions of Productive Properties and their interactions with Personal Properties. Having mass transportation systems interfere with the movements of motorists will create unnecessary traffic jams and prevent people from reaching the workspace or to their Households. Conversely, having the streets be predominated by automobiles is dangerous for pedestrians and deters any and all possibilities for mass transportation systems to provide alternate means of transportation.

For Urban Planners, the ideal scenario which they will propose is one where pedestrians, motorists, and mass transportation can seamlessly coexist on the same streets and roads. They will remind the Economic Planners and Inspectors that, yes, there are in fact contextual differences between a “street” and a “road.” A street allows someone to navigate around a city and its surrounding urban areas. A road by contrast connects the city and its urban areas to the countryside and other nearby cities. In regards to mass transportation systems, specific types are meant to accompany either roads or streets but never both at the same time. Highways and railways are great for transportation across vast distances, while trams and subways are suitable for transportation around a city.

The Stroad: Urban Planning of Production for Profit

The situation which needs to be avoided in practical applications of MTEP is a type of infrastructure that was coined by the American civil engineer Charles L. Marohn Jr. as the “Stroad.” A pejorative portmanteau between a road and a street, the Stroad is a manifestation of Production for Profit in a variety of ways and are more likely to be encountered in much of Canada and these United States, specifically where all transportation can be dictated solely by the automobile. Most Stroads lack mass transportation systems, concentrate all traffic from motorists along multilane roadways, and leave little or no opportunities for pedestrian traffic. Since everything on a Stroad revolves around the automobile, every conceivable economic activity that exists along opposite sides of a Stroad will also conform to the automobile.

The consequence of Stroads, as Marohn Jr. sought to address in his initial arguments on his Strong Towns Blog (and later NGO), is that Stroads puts motorists and pedestrians alike at higher risk of collisions and accidents. Stroads, because of their design, yield higher speed limits and heavier traffic congestion, have poorly-maintained sidewalks (why tread on them if all movement revolves around automobiles?), are expensive to maintain, and create environmental damage by contributing to urban sprawl. Therefore, it is not surprising for Marohn Jr. and this Author in particular to be in general agreement with the issue of Stroads from a Hamiltonian Federalist perspective, despite having completely different ideas on how to properly address them.

Marohn Jr., through his Strong Towns NGO, believes that awareness needs to be raised about the socioeconomic, financial, environmental and human costs of not addressing Stroads. He thinks that Stroads can be dismantled by redesigning them as either a street or a road. For “Stroads-into-Streets,” the infrastructure around needs to be rebuilt so that it can fully accommodate pedestrians and centralize the infrastructure by building up the towns which rely on them (hence Marohn Jr. espousing his “Strong Towns” principle). For “Stroads-into-Roads,” the infrastructure has to be rebuilt to fully accommodate the automobile by eliminating any and all possibilities for pedestrians and slow-moving vehicles to find themselves at risk of high-speed collisions. The result is precisely what the Urban Planners of the Socialist Nation were describing to the Economic Planners and Inspectors on their conduct of MTEP concerning mass transportation systems. Where this Author differs from Marohn Jr. is a matter of how to address the issue of Stroads.

  • Why should Urban Planners redesign the Stroad if they, like the motorists and pedestrians navigating any given Stroad, are operating under Production for Profit?
  • Why expect them to be receptive to the Incentives of Supply and Demand, if nobody cares about what happens on these Stroads, let alone what exists along them?
  • Why should Stroads be eliminated if their design philosophy revolves around the paradigm of Private/Common Property-as-Wealth?
  • Why would any Municipal government invest in altering the surrounding area around a Stroad, such as installing a mass transportation system that accommodates pedestrians, if they are also saddled with Schuld and cannot find the Kapital to do anything about them?
  • And why bother with any of this if there is no legal jurisprudence to hold the decision-making of Urban Planners accountable just as a similar legal jurisprudence exists for Economic Planners?

The solution that this Author calls for in regard to addressing the appearance of Stroads is to bring Urban Planners up to speed with MTEP. With Productive/Personal Property-as-Power, it becomes inevitable to argue that the Stroad is an affront to the Productive and Personal Properties of everyone who relies on it in their everyday activities. A Stroad disrupting the Productive/Personal Properties dynamic creates unsafe working conditions for the Productive Properties and violates the Legal Rights of Personal Properties. It prevents Municipal governments from properly investing in their infrastructure, deterring any urbanization of areas adjacent to Stroads and the provision of alternate means of transportation. It even creates Meaningless Work from having to constantly maintain Stroads, not to mention challenging the Council State’s control over the Intents of Command and Obedience.

Only when the Council State’s control over the Intents of Command and Obedience is threatened can the Council State become openly willing to take proactive action in helping the Municipal government eliminate the Stroads. After all, the Council State also has its own vested interests in redeveloping the adjacent underdeveloped areas (something that Stroads are notorious for) because it has to oversee the construction projects of the VCS Economy and the Student Government of the SSE. The Student Government in particular shall be willing to back the Council State on these endeavors as part of the Total Education Effort. After all, the aspiring Economic Planners and Inspectors are going to need some valuable experience in the conduct of MTEP and addressing the issue of Stroads will be enough for a few generations or more. That is, assuming we are referring to the Federalist American Union under Hamiltonianism.

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