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Bemerkungen zum Verkehrsgesetz von Lardner

Martin J. Beckmann
Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv
Bd. 69 (1952), pp. 199-215
Published by: Springer
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40434732
Page Count: 17
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Bemerkungen zum Verkehrsgesetz von Lardner
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Abstract

The above analysis is directly applicable to any given commodity carried by a single means of conveyance. It is, however, possible, by slightly changing the meaning of the terms freight function and freight rate, to extend the argument to any possible combination of conveyances, provided the cost of transhipment, which introduces into the relation between the various factors an element of instability, be either of a low order, or capable of inclusion in the cost of one of the two conveyances it connects. Freight should then be understood to mean the minimum cost necessary while making use of all available conveyances (s). Freight rate should be taken to mean freight (as here defined) per distance (irrespective of length of way actually covered). These definitions will make it possible to extend the above-mentioned argument to all cases. Generally, freight, as here defined, will also increase in the way explained as distance increases, and freight rate will not increase. Exceptions are, of course, possible, e. g. when goods have to go back over part of the way they were carried to some large transhipment port. It may seem artificial to use the terms freight and freight rate in this way. The truth is we are not concerned with the familiar every-day concepts but with quantities that might properly be called economic distance measures. In transport theory, however, it is the familiar acceptation of the term freight that is traditionally used, and it is perfectly adequate in simple cases with a single conveyance running a direct connection. In cases in which the commodity under review is carried over a given distance in certain given quantities, it will be possible to work the quantities tariff into the distance formula. It is true, though, that if one were to take full account of quantity relations, one would be faced with the problem (not here treated) of implicit quantity functions. The practical importance of these observations cannot, of course, go beyond that of Lardner's traffic law itself. But if it be conceded that this law has the weight of an exact argument, where the multiple importance of improvement in transport facilities is concerned, these observations may be of interest insofar as they sharpen the point of the argument.

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