@Xyleneb - almost 5 years ago
It's only a matter of time before the transport of people and goods becomes a lot more draconian.
For starters, read the opening paragraph to this report: Excise duties system
in Croatia closer to the European System, D. KULIŠ http://www.ijf.hr/upload/files/file/ENG/newsletter/75.pdf The report is supposed to be about Croatian compliance with European-wide excise law, but it also includes rules on the transfer of goods between countries.
What this is essentially saying is that batches of goods that used to come with paperwork, regarding VAT and excise duties, will now come with "e-paperwork" instead.
What does that mean?
Most likely: RFID on the cargo pallet or container + GPS on the truck.
Removing or modifying the labels in any way? That would permit theft, tax avoidance, speeding, going where one is not supposed to, and most disturbing of all: the right to a little privacy. You better believe that this behaviour will be outlawed. And like everything outlawed to do with money (for the poor), it'll probably carry a lengthier sentence than committing grievous bodily harm against a human being [this, versus tampering with a truck].
Denying the right to modify these things however, violates Richard Stallman's four fundamental rules without which you cannot say that you are free (as in "libre", thank you very much stallman): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFoyyhNVVSQ
So we have a problem with that, but that's not all. I'd recommend reading all 20 pages of this report if you can: Transport policy and transport tax reform, Potter, Stephen & Parkhurst http://oro.open.ac.uk/4380/1/PotterandParkhurst172_05.pdf
What that says is that road capacity will never grow enough to meet demand, so we should therefore crush demand to make the poor ration their own mobility. "Politically sensitive, but necessary" or so I'm told. It also explains that politicians are looking to introduce something like an "Actual Road Use Tax" rather than an "Anticipated Road Use Tax" (poor choice of words "Road Use Tax", if you don't want cyclists to be demonised for being exempted from it) (which is why I proposed "Road Strengthening Tax" to provide some rationale for exemption).
What this means is that at some point in the future, our tax system is probably going to mandate the installation of black boxes which measure distance traveled, the modification or removal of which will be illegal. Not just for truckers.
The insurance companies will be rubbing their gargantuan hands and so too will the government.
So with the impending doom coming, the impending debate about the doom will also be coming. But it won't be a very good debate. You know why?
Because then it will be in the final hour and the merits of the tracking system will seem innumerable. The reason we need to debate this sooner rather than later, is because an alternative solution will be necessary. The one we have on the books right now (scrap VED, tax the oil) would leave our government out of pocket to the tune of tens of billions of pounds (no exaggeration there either).
I do not mind how we resolve the details per se (you could tax weight, or anticipated road wear, or power output, power capacity, or vehicle class...) But in the end what I'm looking for is an alternative to the Actual Road Use Tax.
Make a proposal on this idea!