Tag Archives: Travel

Why I love the free market

16 Feb


Take a look at the photograph above. What does it say to you?

I generally take such photographs for granted, but in many ways it is remarkable.

This photo was taken at 6am this morning, at London Heathrow’s Terminal 4. And what it says to me, in a strangely half-awake contemplative mode, is an incredible story.

From my home, thirty miles away, a man brought me here in a Mercedes automobile, a product of the free market, mostly at seventy miles per hour. And here I sit in a comfortable free market lounge awaiting a comfortable seat in a free market steel tube which will transport me at five hundred miles per hour, for six hours, to a distant desert land. While I await this remarkable journey, almost unimaginable just two hundred years ago, one of these free market providers voluntarily supplies me with liquid snacks to hydrate and energise my body.

Indeed, the only less than exciting parts of this terrific experience will be those two unpleasant interfaces with government, at either end of the process, as they strive to deliniate their mafia gang turf boundaries from other tax farming gangs, with security theatre and other paper-stamping nonsense.

I shut these experiences from my mind, trying to speak as little as possible, as I pass through these deeply unpleasant interfaces.

But aside from these completely unnecessary and tedious tax farming dances, I still love travelling.

A hundred years ago, this journey would have only been for a select few, perhaps a handful of British naval or civil service officials, and would have taken weeks in a slow steam boat.

Five hundred years ago, I would have been with the explorers Drake or Magellan. Two thousand years ago, it would have been a journey beyond the edge of imagination, with perhaps one or two Romans or Greeks a year making this dangerous voyage to the Erythraean Sea.

And yet now I do it as a regular commute. And my only problem is deciding whether I want still or fizzy water.

I love the free market.

I wonder what brand of Pinot Noir they’ll have on the plane?