The Economics and Political Economy of Transportation Security
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The Economics and Political Economy of Transportation Security

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.
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Chapter 2: The scale and nature of the terrorist problem

Kenneth Button


The average man does not want to be free. He simply wants to be safe H.L. Mencken. Much of the concern with national security centers on ideas of protecting a country’s ‘critical’ infrastructure, as well as on more immediate attacks on its citizens. The exact definition of what constitutes ‘critical’ is, however, unclear, as is that of ‘infrastructure’. Both terms are also at times prone to various forms of political capture, although there is a general notion that critical infrastructure embraces the assets, systems and networks, whether physical or virtual, so vital to a nation that their incapacitation or destruction would have a debilitating effect on a nation’s economic security, public health or safety. More concretely, the US Critical Infrastructure Protection Board (CIPB) in 2003 defined critical infrastructure as, ‘the physical and cyber assets of public and private institutions residing in the following sectors: agriculture, food, water, public health, emergency services, government, defense industrial base, information and telecommunications, energy, transportation, banking and finance, chemicals and hazardous materials, and postal and shipping’. The European Union’s Commission has laid out the European Union’s Programme for Critical Infrastructure Protection (EPCIP) in Directives (European Commission, 2006). Actions focus on infrastructure that, if disrupted or destroyed, would significantly affect two or more Member States or a single Member State if the critical infrastructure is located in another Member State. With due regard to existing Community competences, the responsibility for protecting national critical infrastructures falls on its owners/operators and on the Member States involved.

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