Freeman

ARTICLE

Surplus Train Rides or--Travel In The Age Of Plenty

JANUARY 01, 1960 by H.P.B. JENKINS

Economist at Fayetteville, Arkansas

It was a sunny afternoon

At story-telling time.

Old Kaspar settled in his chair

and poured a rum-and-lime,

While Peterkin and Wilhelmine

Looked at the futurama screen.

 

They saw a long and winding stretch

Of rusty railroad tracks,

And multitudes who trudged along

With baggage on their backs;

While others turned aside to eat

Or rest with elevated feet.

 

"Why don’t those people drive their cars?"

Asked little Peterkin.

"Because they’re in a hurry, Pete,"

Said Kaspar with a grin.

"The traffic jams have grown so thick

That walking now is twice as quick."

 

"Why aren’t there trains for people now?"

Asked little Wilhelmine.

"The railroads have them," Kaspar said,

"But now they’re seldom seen.

The idle coaches gather rust

While people walk in mud or dust."

 

"There was a time," Old Kaspar sighed,

"When railway fares were cheap,

Before the unions came of age

And taxes took a leap;

But now a ride is priced too high

For ordinary folks to buy."

 

"How will it end," asked Peterkin,

"Will everybody walk?"

"Why, as to that," Old Kaspar said,

"Already there is talk

Of handing out a Subsidy

To railroads hauling people free."

ASSOCIATED ISSUE

January 1960

comments powered by Disqus

EMAIL UPDATES

* indicates required

CURRENT ISSUE

November 2014

It's been 40 years since F. A. Hayek received his Nobel Prize. His insights, particularly on the distribution of knowledge and the impossibility of economic planning, remain hugely important today. In this issue, we look back on the influence of his work. Max Borders and Craig Biddle debate whether liberty must be defended from one absolute foundation, further reflections on Scottish secession, and how technology is already changing our world for the better--including how robots, despite the unease they cause, will only accelerate this process.
Download Free PDF

PAST ISSUES

SUBSCRIBE

RENEW YOUR SUBSCRIPTION