February 14, 2005

Modems, Trains, and Automobiles

As most of you know, I'm the one libertarian in the country who still believes rail transit could work in the Southwest, even in Los Angeles—provided it's handled in a smart way. (Mostly, of course, it has not been.) For instance, there should be a high-speed train running between L.A. and Las Vegas, and probably one running to SF or the East Bay. I happen to like to drive to those places, but for most people it's a chore, and a bullet train would be a lot more convenient for most. (Particularly the drinkers going to Sin City.)

Daily commutes are harder to handle, but I like staggering people's arrival times, so that some get to the office early, and others get there late. This helps ease up on traffic, and wastes less fuel from the stop-and-go effect. But VariFrank's idea of getting more people—a lot more people—to telecommute is pretty brilliant. My first thought is, can most people create an office in their homes? I realize that of course they can, even if it's even in a corner. A lot of homes I know have a "junk room" that its occupants would gladly clear out if it were going to save them ten hours a week that they could then use for anything they wanted.

Via Glenn, who has a few thoughts of his own on how to approach energy policy without turning it into a moralistic crusade and sounding like a bunch of Sunday school teachers. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Posted by Attila at February 14, 2005 12:14 PM

My office is located in the dining room. Very little actual dining ever went on in there, maybe six times a year. This is a much more effecient use of space, though Miss Manners may not approve.

Posted by: Janette at February 14, 2005 02:11 PM

My home office is in an extra bedroom. My fine man created a beautiful work station for me when he worked for an office furniture company. The workstation, filing cabinets, bookshelves etc. are mostly wood. It looks like an office, a happy pretty comfy one. For several years I ran a small business from here. Many of my neighbors have similar setups.

Staggered arrival times, telecommuting, etc. are nothing new. They're effective for energy conservation and tend to increase employee production. So why aren't they being adopted by more businesses and energy-policy folks? To me, that's the real question.

Posted by: k at February 15, 2005 05:42 PM

The answer is that not everyone is capable of working from home. There are some unique distractions (and temptations) that telecommuters must face and overcome.

It is vital that remote employees have a solid work ethic and that their manager can track their progress toward completing what is required of them.

That said, I cannot think of a more rewarding way to work than telecommuting from home. The flexible work environment and relaxed dress makes me more productive and allows me to watch the kids in a pinch and blog during the day.

I've done it for over 5 years and have decided that my next job will also be from home if at all possible.

Posted by: King of Fools at February 16, 2005 07:16 AM

If you want a good thought experiment, imagine where trains would be in this country without the truckers unions.

18 wheelers (or, worse, 2-3 trailer rigs) are used to convey stuff from any x to any y in America, and how stupid is that? Trains are a much better answer for interstate and long-haul commercial shipping. If there were commercial shipping via trains, Amtrak would disappear just as quickly as it took for a freight hauler to tack on a few passenger trains on the most promising lines.

In other words, here is one more reason that soc-ialism in any form stinks.


Posted by: John at February 20, 2005 10:54 PM

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