One way highway road system a ‘Commons Good’ and the need for enclosure


In my tour in the analysis of the highway roads as a ‘common’, I got so immensely interested in making in ‘rods’ yesterday into how such things happen. I was stuck on one of the one way roads not because of the so called ‘traffic congestion’ or due an RTA but due to someone who parked his car right in the middle of a one way road as there were no restriction lines. I could not turn back because of the ‘one way law’ which positioned me against the law if I tried. While both of us were using the commons, as our right, due to its characteristics such as non-excludability and non-rivalrous consumption made us both not ‘free riders of the commons’ because we had paid the required road tax, MOT and insurance. In fact, being a public road excluded it from being ‘private provision’. Therefore, knocking around for him to remove his car from the road would appear monotonous and rude as they were no restrictions. Nevertheless, that was for the law enforcement authorities to do but I really needed some coercive power to make him move his car. I had the right to share the common thus drive through without him blocking me. My point is: it’s a common good and individual acts of excludability leads to consequences in the form of enclosures (check my last blog ‘highway as a common good’), I spoke of road cameras, restrictive lines, barricades etc. If the road was a private good, my fellow motorist would even lock the gate to avoid more traffic., it brings me to the highway road as ‘common pool’, a terminology usually applied to a natural resource such as a fishery, forestry although the term can be used to describe many goods and services that are freely provided for some reason often by the state, in this case the highway road fits well. A common pool exist when all people or simply a number of people who face vary high collective decision making costs have free or “common” access to a scarce good or resource. The cost of moving this motorist as more cars queued apply to this concept of ‘common pool’ as large numbers of other cars faced varying high collective decision making costs due to the underpinning notion that free or “common” use  of a scarce good or resource(one way road)is subject to rivalry in consumption. The one blocking the road diminishes the benefits that another user gains and the diminution often involves crowding (congestion) and a deterioration in quality for all users hence highway travel time rises, surface damage increases etc. I viewed this scenario as the “tragedy of the commons”.  The question still remains as to how much rights and ownership do we have on this ‘common pool’ or how commoning can one common the highway roads.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: