Infrastructure – A group for building stuff!

In the last post I referred to the Economist’s idea for infrastructure decisions to be made by a ‘group for building stuff’ as if the real issue were ‘how to build’ rather than what to build – and, even more critically, why to build it – and why now?   It is said that during the depression, people constructed holes and others filled them in again, as a means of keeping people employed and with an income. Now, no one wanted the holes – or they wouldn’t have been filled in again.  But is it any different today, with a desire to ‘build stuff’.  Perhaps we are fooling ourselves that today’s constructions are more community-valuable than those holes?  If so, should we not focus on the value to be achieved, rather than the building of stuff?

2 Thoughts on “Infrastructure – A group for building stuff!

  1. it’s interesting to think that Keynes (whose idea it was to get people digging holes) was just wanting to generate economic activity… but unlike a hole, building infrastructure like sports stadiums has ongoing operations and maintenance costs… which then generate more economic activity/jobs!!!

    • Yes, if the Operations and Maintenance gets done! But the same effect could have been achieved more quickly, more easily, and a lot more efficiently, if the Operations and Maintenance budgets of existing infrastructure were increased. Only when the service outcomes of new infrastructure are wanted for their own sake is infrastructure worth building. Jobs can be handled more expeditiously in other ways.

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