Rejoinder to Carnis on Private Roads

Libertarian Papers, Vol. 2, No. 3, 2010

10 Pages Posted: 22 Jul 2011

See all articles by Walter E. Block

Walter E. Block

Loyola University New Orleans - Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business

Date Written: July 21, 2011


For a long time, I have been writing about the importance of privatizing highways, mainly because of the carnage that occurs on our socialist roads. People die like flies on these statist vehicular thoroughfares, some 40,000 per year in the U.S. alone. My first publication on this topic appeared in 1979, my most recent was published in 2009, and I have written on this horrid subject many times during the intervening thirty year period.

Until Tullock (1996) my writing on road privatization was pretty much ignored. Some of it was cited by other scholars in this field, but until Gordon Tullock had the kindness to subject my views on this topic to intensive and critical scrutiny, they were not made the subject of any extensive and critical scrutiny. Tullock (1996) singled out for his critique my paper Block (1979) and Block and Block (1996); I replied to it in Block (1998c).

Then Carnis appeared on the scene with a series of magnificent and insightful articles on this topic (Carnis, 2001, 2003, 2006). These were splendid contributions to the free market side of this debate, strongly making the case for, and defending against objections to, conversion of our present socialist roadway network to a private enterprise institution. Carnis’s pedigree in this regard is not as long as mine, but what he lacks in years (he is a far younger man), he more than makes up in terms of insight, logic and verve.

Carnis (2009), the subject of this present essay, is somewhat of a different matter, in my view. In this case, while I acknowledge that he has continued to build onto the road privatization edifice, for the first time in his contribution to this literature, I must part company from him. I thank him for his kind words about my previous publications, but shall devote this rejoinder to what I consider problematic statements of Carnis (2009).

Suggested Citation

Block, Walter E., Rejoinder to Carnis on Private Roads (July 21, 2011). Libertarian Papers, Vol. 2, No. 3, 2010. Available at SSRN:

Walter E. Block (Contact Author)

Loyola University New Orleans - Joseph A. Butt, S.J. College of Business ( email )

6363 St. Charles Avenue
Box 15, Miller 321
New Orleans, LA 70118
United States
(504) 864-7944 (Phone)
(504) 864-7970 (Fax)

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