Carpe Diem

Markets in everything: ‘Sand taxis’ in North Carolina

The top photo shows how Hurricane Sandy took out a section of Hwy 12 on the Outer Banks of North Carolina, making that section of the road now impassable for regular vehicles. There is a bypass around the collapsed highway, but it requires a 4×4 vehicle that can drive on the soft sand without getting stuck. So there is now a thriving business for locals with 4x4s and trailers, who are ferrying two wheel drive vehicles (sometimes with an entire family still inside) across the half-mile or so of sand where the highway is impassible for regular cars.  A waitress at a local restaurant told a regular reader of Carpe Diem that the going rate for the “sand taxis” is about $25.

A good example of the invisible hand at work.  At least until the local government shuts down the “sand taxis” for: a) price gouging, or b) operating a taxi/transport service without the proper “permission slip”/license from the government.  And if that does happen, it would undoubtedly be to “further the public interest” and “protect the consumers” against engaging in mutually beneficial trade with local entrepreneurs.

25 thoughts on “Markets in everything: ‘Sand taxis’ in North Carolina

  1. Obviously it can’t be mutually beneficial until the government says so. We peons are too stupid to determine what is beneficial unless our betters tell us it is.

  2. Perhaps some other aspects of this are also relevant.

    who should pay to fix the road? the people whose houses are on the other side?

    should the repaired road be a private toll road that utilizes market pricing?

    should the people who have houses there be receiving government-subsidized flood insurance or market-priced insurance?

    • should the people who have houses there be receiving government-subsidized flood insurance or market-priced insurance?

      The answer to that is simple. User pays.

      • In a “user-pays” world, Nags Head and the Outer Banks goes mostly belly up except for the rich…. though.

        Looking at NC 12… that road has been cut many times and increasingly more frequently in the last decade.

        Whether you subscribe to climate change or not – the outer banks makes NY/NJ look like a protected enclave with respect to threats from the ocean.

        I doubt seriously that 3/4 of the buildings there could be insured without the Fed govt subsidized flood insurance program.

        Most insurance companies would not touch it with a 10 foot pole.

        • In a “user-pays” world, Nags Head and the Outer Banks goes mostly belly up except for the rich…. though.

          Correct.

          Looking at NC 12… that road has been cut many times and increasingly more frequently in the last decade.

          Correct.

          Whether you subscribe to climate change or not – the outer banks makes NY/NJ look like a protected enclave with respect to threats from the ocean.

          Correct.

          I doubt seriously that 3/4 of the buildings there could be insured without the Fed govt subsidized flood insurance program.

          Correct.

          Most insurance companies would not touch it with a 10 foot pole.

          Correct.

          The Outer Banks is an artifact of the shape of the US coastline in that region. It is basically a series of huge sand dunes created by the action of the ocean, which moves 700,000 tons of sand along the coastline each year.

          Currently the Banks are moving toward the mainland as sand is moved from the East side to the West side. There is NOTHING that can be done to change that without destroying the attraction that makes it a desirable place to live in the first place.

          Every year the inevitable action of the ocean reshapes the Outer Banks as it has done for millions of years.

          Everyone knows that if you build a structure such as a house or a highway on a sand dune, it will eventually be destroyed. There’s nothing iffy about this,

          People should be free to build wherever they wish – at their own expense. There is no earthly reason why others should be made to subsidize the actions of those who build on land that may not exist the next year.

          • Is there a stronger word than irony to describe it?“…

            Funny you should ask ron h, I sepnt a half hour persuing a few online thesauruses and a couple here at the house wondering the samething myself…

            Did you happen to notice some of the links in the right sidebar?

          • Did you happen to notice some of the links in the right sidebar?

            No, but perhaps I will go back and look.

            In any case, I think I should start subscribing to Pravda, as it seem to be a better news source than most major US rags.

          • In any case, I think I should start subscribing to Pravda, as it seem to be a better news source than most major US rags“…

            Well I’ve been using Mexican newspapers for years with regards to getting ‘newspaper takes‘ on foreign affairs…

            I hate to say it ron h but I’m thinking that Aljazeera is more credible a source of information than ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC when it comes to real world news…

          • Al Jazeera is jihadist propaganda central. They are the death of truth, not its source“…

            Be that as it may bob but compared to ABC, CBS, CNN, and NBC Aljazeera is an unblemished beacon of fact…

          • if you are really seeking the truth – you don’t need to rely on ONE source. You should be using as many sources as necessary to validate the “truth” but in juandos case he is looking for what can confirm his own beliefs rather than what is truth.

            that’s a big problem with a lot of people now days.

            if you truly seek the truth – you realize that no one media outlet will give it to you.

          • larry g says: “if you are really seeking the truth – you don’t need to rely on ONE source“…

            Gee! Something I’ve been trying to tell you for quite awhile ‘wikipedia boy‘…

          • re: ” Gee! Something I’ve been trying to tell you for quite awhile ‘wikipedia boy‘…”

            1. Wikipedia is a COMPENDIUM of SOURCES

            Juandos do you know what footnotes are and what “compendium” means?

            2. – even then, it’s just one of many sources that are sought to confirm something – across several sources – different, credible sources as opposed to right wing echo chamber sources that reference each other and/or use bogus references or cite whole volumes instead of page numbers, or synthesize data … corrupt data… to further a propaganda agenda.

            Juandos – you are a compendium of bogus sources my friend…. you seem to rely on bogus sources predominately in fact.

          • if you truly seek the truth – you realize that no one media outlet will give it to you.

            What would you recommend, Larry, what news sources do you trust?

          • re: ” what news sources do you trust?”

            I do not trust any one for all the news. When I hear more than one reporting similar info – including the ones that normally are opposite in the way they report – then I start to get a sense on what they agree on and go one step further and seek other credible sources of authentication.

            Source that I have found propagandizing, I triple-check their claims and I follow their provided references,

            If they do not provide references and/or they synthesize data and do not show how – then I go out of my way to find out what the truth really is. AEI has a diverse range of “scholars” some of which are true brokers of information and others just propaganda hacks with agendas.

            Among the worst kind of info seeking is when one seeks info to confirm what they’d like to believe, and they stop looking., That’s raging in epidemic proportions these days.

            Finally, the echo chamber, where those who have confirmed their biases herd together… often talking about collusion and conspiracies of sources they don’t like.

            The “liberal POLL conspiracy” of the last election is a good example. From Karl Rove to Dick Morris to Hannity, to Limbaugh, Malkin, etc, etc, etc, ALL AGREED that the Pollsters were not only WRONG but they favored Obama.

            this went on right up until election night when Rove himself on FAUX News openly questioned FAUX news itself for calling the election for Ohio.

            this is how bad it has gotten.

  3. A good example of the invisible hand at work. At least until the local government shuts down the “sand taxis” for: a) price gouging, or b) operating a taxi/transport service without the proper “permission slip”/license from the government.

    “But these people are my friends. I’m just doing them a favor. They’re not *paying* me. (fingers crossed behind back)

    Absent complaints from customers, enforcement might be difficult.

    And of course, the enforcers would be smart to consider whether these operators and their customers are people who voted for them in the last election.

    • I wonder what would happen if NCDOT announced that they would not be rebuilding the road but they would allow the private sector to operate a free-market sand taxi operation?

      • Do you mean if people living there had to pay their own way to and from their houses instead of having everyone in NC providing them with a highway?

        • larry-

          i presume you intend to give such homeowners tax credits on the gasoline, property, and sales taxes they pay for road maintenance, right?

          no fair only looking at half the equation.

          those people are paying taxes to fund roads and DOT. if the government is going to levy such taxes, they need to hold up their end of the deal and provide the services those taxes are intended to fund.

          • @Morg – since we all pay taxes for roads – should we expect an equitable amount back in roads?

            are the folks in the outer banks getting MORE back than say someone who lives on an ordinary road that is far less expensive to maintain?

            And ordinary road needs the ditches pulled every so often and some re-paving every so often but seldom needs to be rebuilt completely – over and over.

            Morg – would you live on a private road that you need would flood every few years and you’d have to rebuilt with your own money each time?

            I bet not. so why should taxpayers pay to re-build roads where we know they are going to get wiped out?

  4. Kinda of interesting – we own a beach condo a down the coast, in Charleston – naturally have sand issue, not unlike the outer banks. We had to pay some significant money for beach repairs. What was interesting was the city and county help pay for the beach. Turns out the tourism and the taxes on tourist are a significant part of the city/county budget. This is one of those issues that get more complicate the more you understand the various dependencies.

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