Like Tree86Likes

China Bullet Train Derails

Closed Thread
Page 18 of 26 FirstFirst ... 10 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 ... LastLast
  1. #171

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    7,478
    Quote Originally Posted by gilleshk:
    Incorrect, gas prices are not kept artificially low in the US, they are kept high in Europe with high taxes. Some oil producing countries like Venezuela do keep gas prices very low for the convenience of their citizen but that's not really the case in the US.

    The system doesn't make decisions, people do on the basis of profitability.
    The 'system' chooses how much to tax the petrol
    The 'system' chooses to make tax very low
    These low taxes mean people would rather choose cars and planes than trains
    This means it is not profitable to make a decent train network
    This means there isn't a decent train network.

    The 'system' DOES make decisions

  2. #172

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Back in California (finally!).
    Posts
    2,079

    When posters like Moving07 and Mat complain about US residents preferring cars to trains for long distance travel, they are implicitly arguing that the US should impose artificially high petrol taxes in order to restrict consumption, and force people to take trains. Of course, petrol taxes are high in Australia as well, and they are world's highest per capita greenhouse gas emitters, but never mind (and no coincidence - Australia is much like the US in most ways). The idea is that society should try to price gasoline so high that it makes car travel unaffordable for most people is certainly a valid argument if you believe that he resulting market distortions and harm to commerce are worth the price. Of course, it is not at all clear that it is, or that it is the government's business to make such choices for its people. In Europe oil has always had a rather high amount of taxes, not because Europeans are fundamentally more environmenally friendly (let's get real about that) but because with the excepiton of Norway and the UK, there is no oil in Western Europe, and governments tend to want to discourage the importantation of anything. These taxes were in place long before environmental concerns were even a consideration. While I believe that taxes on oil should gradually be ramped up in the US, it is only because of I have a rather vague hope that some new technologies might develop that would replace a somewhat scarce resorce, and that the alternative might be more environmentally friendly. To some extent, it reflects my naivety to believe in such things.

    But for people like Moving and Mat to label the US as 'immoral' because it does not do so simple arrogance, since it is far from clear that putting a hefty tax on oil, and giving its citizens fewer lifestyle options and a lower standard of living, is the height of arrogance. Republics exist for the benefit of their citizens, and it is up to the citizens to decide what is important, not some rich, disconnected elitist who lives in a city where people hardly ever drive a car anyway.


  3. #173

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Posts
    7,151

    Positive spin on the headline: Global Times: High-speed rail sees good first month: ministry




    But content more balanced:

    No passenger was seen in the whole carriage of a high-speed train on the Beijing-Shanghai line on July 3rd 2011. It has been reported that the high-speed rail service recently suffered a plunge in ticket sales, with trains running at less than 30 percent occupancy in the first- and second-class seats and with business-class carriages almost empty. Photo: Shanghai Morning Post

  4. #174

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    3,680
    Quote Originally Posted by justjoe86:
    The 'system' chooses how much to tax the petrol
    The 'system' chooses to make tax very low
    These low taxes mean people would rather choose cars and planes than trains
    This means it is not profitable to make a decent train network
    This means there isn't a decent train network.

    The 'system' DOES make decisions
    I call bull. High taxes in Europe are not applied for encouraging people to take public transport but so the government can pocket more money. And if people were to jump on public transport in masses they would just increase another tax or invent a new one.

  5. #175

    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Posts
    4,905
    Quote Originally Posted by justjoe86:
    The 'system' chooses how much to tax the petrol
    The 'system' chooses to make tax very low
    These low taxes mean people would rather choose cars and planes than trains
    This means it is not profitable to make a decent train network
    This means there isn't a decent train network.

    The 'system' DOES make decisions
    When was the last time "the system" voted on anything? Politicians make decisions and they are generally elected by people. Why don't you define this great entity that you call system and how it makes decisions by itself? The idea behind democracy is that the politicians follow the will of the people. Even if you ARTIFICIALLY make prices high and piss the majority of the people off, it still doesn't change the fact that distances are far greater than in Europe, the cities not built the same way as in Europe and the people are quite different.

    If and when it makes sense, businesses and users will ask for it. That's starting to happen in specific areas. It's stupid to try to hammer a square peg in a round hole. Europe also doesn't have an oil industry to protect so it's a very different story than the US and the idea that decisions that are decades old were made because of environmental concerns is preposterous. The politicians are simply taking advantage of the infrastructure that was laid out years before any environmental concerns were ever voiced.

    It also makes a lot more sense environmentally to tackle public transportation in high density areas. Better to develop and invest in commuter trains, subways, buses, bike paths and high speed links where there are the most cars, gridlocks and consequently pollution.

  6. #176

    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    7,478
    Quote Originally Posted by gilleshk:
    When was the last time "the system" voted on anything? Politicians make decisions and they are generally elected by people. Why don't you define this great entity that you call system and how it makes decisions by itself?
    You're the one who started going on about a system. that's why I used quotation marks. I assumed you were talking about politicians but you can define it however you want and i'll get back to you.

  7. #177

    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Posts
    7,442

    I have missed the last 15 pages....

    I've been in China for the last week and took the Hangzhou/Shanghai fast train. Last week we were one of 3 people in the whole carriage. Stopped twice, picked up about a two dozen people at the stations in the middle of nowhere. It was probably about 15% full.

    The derailment is big news here and alot of people talking about it. Most people expect alot more sackings. One person I was talking to said that unfortunately to get the attention of the government you have to 'pay with blood'. Most people seemed to agree that most corruption is still the biggest problem but also high officials trying to make a name for themselves by finishing construction early, being the fastest etc. In all the time cutting corners.


  8. #178

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    猴山
    Posts
    22,173

    The externalities of the toxic waste emitted by vehicles needs to be taken into account in the 'taxing' of petrol.

    If the US taxed petrol at the same rate as Europe how many tonnes of oil would not be burnt and put into the environment. Probably quite a bit more than BP spewed into the Gull of Mexico last year. But because it is so finely dispersed the damage does not make good TV but is probably more harmful to young lungs or global warming.

    Americans like cheap Gas and no politician has the backbone to stand up to the car owning public and ask them to pay the true cost of motoring.


  9. #179

    Join Date
    May 2010
    Location
    Back in California (finally!).
    Posts
    2,079
    Quote Originally Posted by East_coast:
    The externalities of the toxic waste emitted by vehicles needs to be taken into account in the 'taxing' of petrol.
    Quite a common sentiment but nobody has ever explained why giving the government money is going somehow clean up the environment from polluting vehicles.

    The US approach is to constantly mandate increasing milage for motor vehicles. It would probably be more straightforward to just tax petrol, assuming one buys the debatable assumption that curbing petrol consumption is a good thing.

  10. #180

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Location
    猴山
    Posts
    22,173
    Quote Originally Posted by Freetrader:
    Quite a common sentiment but nobody has ever explained why giving the government money is going somehow clean up the environment from polluting vehicles.

    The US approach is to constantly mandate increasing milage for motor vehicles. It would probably be more straightforward to just tax petrol, assuming one buys the debatable assumption that curbing petrol consumption is a good thing.
    Unfortunately the Government ends up clearing up some of the mess. The below figures seem to suggest some costs. But they don't include lost opportunity costs for the land could have been used for.

    UK figures suggest

    Air pollution 19.7
    Congestion 17.5
    Accidents 9.4
    Noise 2.6
    Road damage 1.5
    Climate change 0.1
    (Road building not included)
    Total 50.8 �Bn.

    Fuel tax: 12.5,
    Excise duty: 3.6;
    Total: 16.1 �Bn

Closed Thread
Page 18 of 26 FirstFirst ... 10 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 ... LastLast