Should People Be Forced To Use Public Transportation?

With global warming and climate change becoming acceptable as impending reality, there is need to develop a consensus about improving the ways we burn fuels, and making people use public transport is one of the most important steps in this direction. It is a dire need today, even if it comes at the cost of forcing people by rules. However, in democratic societies, such enforcement can come only when it is backed by social opinion.
Should People be Forced to Use Public Transportation?
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Public Policy problems that threaten us with dire consequences need to be addressed with strong and effective measures, even if they lead to some inconvenience for some people. So the question that we need to ask, in respect of climate change and environmental damage is the extent of damage that humanity, in particular, the subsequent generations will have to bear, if we are unable to do enough today.

Impending Disaster Calls for Strong Measures

The catastrophe is already upon us. Most scientific predictions give us less than 50 years, before we will become witness to some of the worst environmental disasters the

world over. Even countries like the United States are not going to be immune from them. In fact they could be some of the worst sufferers if the hurricanes and the harvest losses over last few years are any indication. Global warming is the direct result of fuel use (or rather misuse), and it is time that we, each one of us, do something substantial to protect ourselves (not others or the world) from the impending doom. Saving fuel and thereby reducing fossil fuel emission is definitely one of the most important strategies that we need to adopt without a second thought.

It is a Threat to Mankind: Every Country may Suffer

Countries, which are less privileged than the United States, like Japan, have already undertaken the transition to mass rapid transport. Not only it provides a healthy environment, it also saves time in transit, as public transport is usually faster. In addition it leads people to have more healthier habits like walking and cycling, that are so essential in maintaining health and preventing modern life style diseases like obesity, heart diseases, strokes and diabetes, which are some of the biggest killers in the United States today, and actually account most for its rising healthcare costs. It is hardly surprising then that the Japanese, who spend less than half of their American counterparts on health, live half a decade more than them. Having more public transport will not only improve environment, but also improve health status and reduce healthcare costs, which are one of the most important reasons for making the US industry uncompetitive today.

The advantages of mandatory public transportation

could be even more for developing countries, which suffer from chronic shortage of resources and infrastructure. Of course, there could be an immediate need for public investments, but the long term commercial returns for such investments in most countries are likely to far outweigh any difficulties of getting such investment. With the global economy actually suffering from a surplus of capital, with near zero rate of return, investment is unlikely to be a real constraint. What may be required is a facilitation of such investment, taking into account its global positive externalities.

Economic Returns will Benefit Most Countries

In economic terms, reducing oil consumption is a necessity that is even more immediate than the health effects. Oil imports are the primary reason of burgeoning trade imbalances of several countries, including the United States for a large part of this century. A large part of trade imbalances of these countries with oil exporting countries, and it would be very foolish if authorities fail to see the root cause of the trade deficit problem, which keeps threatening their economy and even their currencies.

It may even Help in the War on Terror

Lastly, reducing the outflow of petro-dollars is also a strategic necessity if we really want to won the war on terror, because most of the terrorists are directly or indirectly financed by these petro dollars. It is very naive for the world to first pay trillions in buying oil and then spend trillions again in defense to contain the terror that their own dollars bring to them. Thus, it makes perfect sense for all those who would like to see the end of the devilish terrorist killers precipitating a global mayhem in the name of religion, to support the shift towards more efficient transportation, along with other measures like push to renewable energy.

For the sake of peace in our countries as much as for the sake of global peace and the survival of the world, we need to shift en masse to public transport.



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