The Economics and Political Economy of Transportation Security

The Economics and Political Economy of Transportation Security

Transport Economics, Management and Policy series

Kenneth Button

In this clear and observant book, Kenneth Button provides an overview of the economics and political economy of transport security, considering its policy from an economic perspective. His analysis applies micro-economic theory to transport issues, supporting and enhancing the larger framework of our knowledge about personal, industrial, and national security.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Kenneth Button

Subjects: economics and finance, transport, environment, transport, politics and public policy, public policy, terrorism and security, urban and regional studies, transport

Extract

They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security Benjamin Franklin. Security is relative. No one can ever be completely secure all of the time, and when there is a high level of security the unexpected can easily change the situation. There are also various dimensions to security; are we talking about the statistical probability of being attacked, of having our property damaged, or having our livelihood taken away, or are we talking about feeling more secure, a matter of psychological well-being rather than of any stochastic notion of physical ‘fortification’? At the other extreme of aggregation, is it national security that is at issue, or that of the individual, and taking a temporal perspective, is it the current generation we should be concerned with or should it be a longer-term view with a focus on future generations? But however security is viewed, some general trends seem to be widely accepted. Whether the world today is a statistically more secure place than it was for our ancestors is a difficult thing to decide. Much depends on the perspective taken and, perhaps more importantly, on who you are and where. It is certainly much safer than in the very distant past when disease, famine and military conflicts regularly wiped out millions of people in a way that is difficult to comprehend today.