I like your hypothetical question “Who would build the roads” because the first roads — and railroads — were built by private individuals, often financed by subscription (crowd funding!), recouped via fares on rail and stage coach or tolls. It’s harsh because not everyone can afford to avail of such things — unable to afford the fare or toll. Most of these entrepreneurs recognised this and used charitable foundations to offer some redress. I agree that when governments took over these roles the market was distorted. It’s an interesting philosophical question, one I suspect we will never see answered in practice — not without a revolution.

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Frank is a retired Engineer from England now living in Ireland. He is trying to learn and share the lessons of history.

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