The first is that so much capital was invested in them with such lasting benefit, albeit not always that anticipated. Of course the circumstances were different from now when some (such as the Ffestiniog) were built, and we would not wish to replicate the economic conditions of that time today, but that’s not my point. What did happen was that capital was used for profit in ways that delivered considerable long term social gain.
D’ye think he’s even ever heard of railway mania? when a few honest folk and a much larger group of unscrupulous thugs (eerily reminiscent of the dot com era) raised vast sums of capital from the general public, as private investments, to do all of that. The public investment came much later, when all the good projects had already been done.
We put so much attention on the paid economy and yet so often it fails so spectacularly to provide the work people need of to use their talents to best advantage.
As has been pointed out, this from the man who thinks that paying tax is better than private charity. You know, that largely volunteer stuff? And I’m sure I’ve seen him slagging off the RNLI at some point.
And third, it strike me that the agent that has done most to release this talent of late are those publicly funded bodies
I am thinking, for example, of the millions invested by local authorities and others in the Welsh Highland Railway. I am sure there are many who would argue that the state should have no part to play in such activity. I disagree. When there is no private capital now available for such schemes it is the state that needs to develop such projects in partnership with enterprising individuals who can deliver real economic gain for a region but do not have the capital required to do so. This is a totally appropriate use for state capital funding from which very large numbers benefit.
But if there was a benefit that could be captured then private capital would happily invest. If there’s a public benefit that cannot be captured (ie, we’re in public goods territory) then sure, state invest away. But can we have the proof of that public goods problem first please? And according to the real definition?
Gonna be bloody hard with a full scale model railway.
Like when the RNLI stopped taking govt grants because they lost more than a £ in donations for each £ in grants?