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A Swede in Germany

Attacks on air travel and ATMs / Follow-up: Attacks on freedom

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As a further follow-up to Attacks on freedom:

A day after writing that text, I stumbled upon two interesting examples, in the form of attacks on air travel and cash, respectively.

To the former: Apparently, France is banning domestic short-haul flights, whenever “there is a regular and frequent train option that takes less than two and a half hours”. Air travel is generally a common target of such attacks, having been given an unfair and misleading reputation, and having become a favorite something-to-exterminate of environmentalists.

This particular attack comes with a number of complications, including that we might see an existing domestic flight that is allowed at time A suddenly being a violation at time B, because train services have improved (and without the airline necessarily knowing this), that competition is reduced, giving train companies a leg up, and that it can give train companies unsound incentives, e.g. to add another train between two stations for the purpose of eliminating a competing flight or to cut out an intermediate stop to save time for the same purpose. (In a second step, as trains are easier to coordinate than airplanes, maybe that train is removed again/that stop reinstated, once the flight is gone…)

Moreover, it seems pointless: As I have noted in the past, the sheer amount of waiting and delays around air travel is horrific, and the comfort is much higher and the stress much lesser on a train. In most cases, going by air when there is a train connection fulfilling the mentioned criteria is, then, either a bad idea (where additional information could move travelers to make a better decision) or something done for a specific reason, where the removal of the flight would be harmful. An example of the latter: someone travels by air internationally between two major airports, wants to reach a smaller town, which also has an airport, and now has the choice between (a) simply changing flights at the larger airport and (b) going from that airport to the next train station and then travel by train, possibly losing hours and very likely increasing the stress of travel.* Another example: someone travels on business and has this business much nearer to a certain airport than to the city center. (Should he now (a) travel by e.g. car to his local airport and by plane to the destination airport, or (b) by car to the local train station, by train to the destination city, and then from there to the destination airport by some other means?)

*Note complications like dragging luggage around, the greater amount of walking likely necessary, the greater likelihood that something goes wrong, and that much of the otherwise relevant stress of air travel does not apply to those already on the right side of the security checks.

To the latter: Nigeria limits ATM withdrawals to $45 per day* to force government-controlled digital payments. So, get rid of cash in order to force the citizen onto digital currencies—a particularly perfidious variation of two of the issues mentioned in my original text. Also note complications like the inability** to withdraw a large amount before travel, to give a larger amount of cash to someone else, to have a buffer when a crisis threatens, and to avoid government scrutiny even when having a legitimate*** reason to do so.

*From the text, I am not clear on whether there is an actual day-based limit, as implied by e.g. the headline, or whether there is a weekly limit, which gives this daily amount when divided by 7.

**In exchange for considerable fees, the amount might be overdrawn, but that is a shitty option, to say the least. Moreover, beyond a certain limit, even the personal approval of the bank CEO might be needed.

***And even fanatic Leftist proponents of government power and “the government is always right” will have a hard time extending that position to Nigeria. The more sensible might understand that such legitimate reasons can exist even in, say, Germany or the U.S.

Note that similar issues exist with many other countries. The current case differs through the nominally low amount, but might be nothing special once we factor in purchasing power.


Written by michaeleriksson

December 9, 2022 at 2:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

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