Rational Renationalisation: a capitalist case for infrastructural Corbynomics

Time-lapse motorway - photo by Troels Dejgaard Hansen on Flickr

Greetings, planning-fans! We’re spinning FOReTHOUGHT back up for the new academic year, so keep an eye out for new posts in the weeks to come; you can follow us on The Twitters, and I’m told that you can also find us on The Facebooks. We do everything short of popping round your house and slipping a note under the door, really; just the sort of garrulous and proactive young* researchers we are, y’see.

(Well, I’m not really very young anymore, but let’s gloss over that for now.)

This week, though, I’m going to direct your attention elsewhere. The nice folk at the think-tank NESTA have an in-house webzine called The Long+Short, and they asked me if I wanted to write something for them about infrastructure “that might stir up a bit of debate”. The results have just been published, and I’d be immensely pleased if you’d go and take a look; it’s not too long, as arguments for total infrastructural renationalisation go. Here’s a snippet to tempt you:

The ability to run a profitable transportation or telecoms service is entirely predicated on being able to pick and choose which routes you run, which means the transportation companies get to both make a profit on their bulk and long-haul business, and extract subsidies from local government as contractors-of-last-resort for last-mile services – even though the bulk traffic would be considered reduced if last-mile coverage declined. Considering that the value of a network accrues to the network as a whole, it becomes clear that the bulk traffic should subsidise the local connectivity – because the latter is both the source and destination of the former.

Infrastructure! Network theory! Thinly veiled sarcasm! What more could you possibly want?

(And if all that talk of the last-mile problem has piqued your interest, you might want to check out my recent FOReTHOUGHT post on local public transport…)

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