More on Elsevier as rent-seeking monopolists.

Tim Leunig, an Elsevier editor of Explorations in Economic History, writes: Elsevier have a right to price their journals as they see fit, but they must be honest in their reasoning and not attack boycotters with untruths. :

“I therefore have no difficulty in defending Elsevier’s right to price its journals as it sees fit. Equally, I have no difficulty in understanding the decisions of individuals and libraries not to subscribe to Elsevier’s journals. What I strongly dislike is the Chief Executive claiming that the objections of Elsevier’s critics are based on “misstatements or misunderstandings of the fact”. He should be honest and state that in many cases his journals have an element of monopoly power which as a commercial, capitalist company he is determined to exploit as fully as possible. I would respect him were he to say that. For him to claim otherwise is simply false – and as a journal editor it is my job to expose those who speak falsely. That responsibility extends to rejecting comments made by my Journal’s publisher’s Chief Executive, just as much as it extends to rejecting articles that make unsubstantiated and unwarranted claims unsupported by the evidence.”

Linklist: February 22, 2012

Robert Bruegmann @ Bloomberg: Driverless Car Could Defy Sprawl Rules:

“The driverless car could well extend that flexibility in dramatic fashion, combining some characteristics of automobiles and public transportation and allowing people more choice in the way they live, whether it involves more compact, high-density cities, more dispersed low-density settlements — call it sprawl if you like — or, perhaps most likely, all of the above.”

Fanis Grammenos @ Planetizen Choosing a Grid, or Not :

“Breaking the convenient, but outdated, uniformity of the 18th and 19th Century American grids would be a first step in recovering the land efficiency mandated by current ecological and economic imperatives. Pointing in that direction, Savannah’s composite, cellular grid includes variable size streets and blocks for private, civic and religious functions. A second step would be to include block sizes that can accommodate building types and sizes unknown in the 1800s, again defying block uniformity. A third step would be to adapt its streets for the now universal motorized mobility, of cars, buses, trucks, trams and motorcycles, that is radically different from when oxen, equine and legs shared the transport of goods and people.”

Eric Jaffe @ Atlantic Cities: The Tale of a Taxi Driver Who Just Won’t Stop Driving [He claims he is not a taxi driver, since he doesn’t charge (making it up in tips), the court disagreed]

Lynne Kiesling @ Knowledge Problem: Extreme Makeover: Regulation Edition :

“Yes. Hayek’s Pretence of Knowledge meets Smith’s “man of system”, Tullock’s rent seeking, and Olson’s concentrated benefits and diffuse costs. Regulatory complexity creates benefits for politically-powerful special interests, but it creates costs for everyone else, and this ongoing process feeds the egos of our elected representatives who believe they can engineer, design, and manipulate society to achieve their desired outcomes.”

Capital Business Blog – The Washington Post: In White Flint, the mall is being turned into a town :

“The plans ultimately call for 5.2 million square feet of buildings, including 1 million square feet offices in three buildings along Rockville Pike, 1 million square feet of retail, 2,500 residential units and a 300-room hotel. The current three-level mall is about 800,000 square feet.
Civic amenities are also envisioned. On the south side of the property the companies have reserved space for the construction of a new elementary school and on the east side plan to build a public park, part of 13.1 acres of open space on the property.”

CBC News: TTC chief Gary Webster fired:

“TTC chief general manager Gary Webster has been relieved of his duties, following a vote during a special meeting of transit commissioners Tuesday.
In a motion describing termination “without just cause,” the transit commission voted 5-4 to fire Webster, who has worked at the service for 35 years, just two weeks after he expressed open defiance to a subway plan championed by Mayor Rob Ford. His ouster comes a year before he was set to retire.
“This was not how I expected this to end — certainly not how I wanted it to end,” Webster told reporters shortly after his termination. “But clearly the choice has been made to replace me as chief general manager and I accept that.””

Joe Soucheray @ Let’s turn I-94 into a tollway. No, I’m serious.:

“About 30 minutes after you cross the Illinois border below Milwaukee, you are offered the tollway option, which is the only way to go. I went last weekend, and before I left, the CP slapped the transponder onto my windshield.
It made me feel big city. I am certain that if I lived in the western suburbs or had to use I-35W, I’d be a MnPASS customer.”

[We lack toll roads, a new battle on the urban featuritis war begins, accompanying convention centers, light rail, and NFL Stadia.]

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