Atack et al assess the profitability of the steamboating operations in the western rivers and its implication on business and economic growth around the rivers before the war. Reuben Dawson who was an assistant marshal in Louisville has played a significant role in steamboats business analysis by making records on the different steamboat operations with important information such as the name of the boat, the nature and number of the crew, the route operated, expenditures, freight revenues and the number of years operated by the boats. This information has played a significant role in assessing the steam boating return on investment in the mid-nineteenth century in western rivers. Calculating the return on investment of steamboating activities in the western rivers played a significant role in assessing the investment made in slavery before the war, southern industries and the western railroads.
The research establishes a significant difference in boat operations in the trunk and tributary areas of the western rivers. The differences in profitability can be due to the differences in the number of people who had settled along the rivers, lack of necessary operational information that led to the unpredictability of the navigational conditions on the western rivers. However, the most profound reason behind the disparity of the profits made by the steamboats is the high cost of insurance covers owing to the high risk of operations in the tributary rivers. The trunk rivers steam boating profits during the antebellum era were high and similar to the profits in the slave-based farming of cotton at the time. This research result indicates the risk-free rate of 6% which was made popular by Alfred H. Conrad and John Meyer inappropriateness in the risky investments (Atack et al., 1975). In my opinion, the research confirms that the railroads despite the downward profit trend indicate the railroads were not created ahead of demand and the researchers note that despite the decline of steamboating profits in the 1850s in the Trunk Rivers the profits continued to be experienced in the tributary rivers.
Railroad Operation of Trucks
The article assesses the rail road operation activities of trucks in the 19th century assessing the organizations in the business at the time and the different rates of transporting goods between the states using railway roads trucks. From the 1800s railroads were the preferable form of transportation which resulted in a monopoly but eventually, the railway transport became competitive and rate discrimination use led to the enactment of the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887 which subsequently increased the control of railway transport. However, despite the introduced control on the rail transport it continued to maintain monopoly as the preferred form of transport until the 1920s and 1926 trucking business had become unregulated with high success being noted in the inroads railway business. However, in 1933 the railway transport suffered a setback during the economic depression at the time. Railway transport dominated the Americas until the advent of the water and truck transport and despite being ignored at first by 1932 the railway transport started calling for the regulation of the truck transport. In 1935 the truck transport officially began to be regulated by the passing of the Motor Carrier Act of 1935 which placed the regulation of the trucks transport under ICC (Stan, 1952). The law was mainly instigated by the need to secure the public interests and any railroad that wanted trucking company acquisition were to meet the public interests. The policies made at the time aimed at facilitating growth in all modes of transportation and blocked the existence of destructive competition.
Restrictions forced the railroads to operate only within smaller localities and big cities. The railroad eventually became a problem of the states through the Interstates Commerce Commission while the motor trucks were involved in interstate and foreign trade. Carriers that get the operation certificate from the state are exempted to take a certificate from the ICC regulation organ. The California code was unique in that it treats railroads and motor carriers equally and the California Commission is at discretion on how to handle railroads and motor carriers (Stan, 1952). In my opinion, high regulation of the railway and motor carriers reduces efficiency and restricted competition slowed down the growth of the transportation sector. More liberal approach to the transportation system could have helped create balance and ensure that the players act in the best interest of the public.
Markets for pollution allowances: what are the (new) lessons?
Goulder (2013) argues on the regulations of commercial pollution to protect the environment through the trading pollution rights. The trade pollution regulation is implemented through a pollution cap-trade system where the regulation body sets the cap of the pollution that is legally allowed for all the industries under regulation. The United States environmental protection agency allows industries to trade emissions which are seen as an effective approach to regulate emissions. The cap and trade system has been effective in reducing the emissions of sulfur dioxide under the current Clean Air Act and the cap and trade system continues to be the most effective tool against climate change in the United States of America while ensuring industrial prosperity of the country (Goulder, 2013). Many programs are in place in other sectors such as the transferable fishing rights and the land development rights which seeks to reduce pollution and promote sustainable use of natural resources.
The article by Goulder seeks to assess situations when cap and trade systems work best in environmental protection compared to other environmental policies in place. Through effective monitoring and compliance by pollutants the cap and trade system is more efficient in environmental protection especially because it can be implemented from a local point of view. Many industries have been able to maintain pollution within the stipulated cap and trade systems because they are easy to monitor and the incentives used promote industries compliance. However, there has been an ignorance of other policies in environmental protection which poses a significant challenge (Goulder, 2013). In my opinion, harmonizing the state and the national cap and trade systems could lead to more effective regulations on pollutants. In addition, the environmental protection agency should integrate all the policies to be able to increase efficiency and convenience in pollution control. Cap and trade approach of environmental pollution should be integrated with other environmental policies to offer a more comprehensive approach to protect the environment from pollutants evenly within states.
Atack, J., Haites, E. F., Mak, J., & Walton, G. M. (1975). The Profitability of Steamboating on Western Rivers: 1850. Business History Review, 49(3), 346-354.
Goulder, L. H. (2013). Markets for pollution allowances: what are the (new) lessons?. Journal of Economic Perspectives, 27(1), 87-102.
Stan. L. Rev. 89 1951-1952
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