Why Johnny can’t build

Why Johnny can’t build

We were once a nation of builders — from the toll roads and canals of the early 19th century and the railroads of the second half of that busy century to the construction of power, energy, and water systems that were the envy of the world. Even Josef Stalin hired American engineers and planners to build hydroelectric plants and car and other large-scale factories, some planned and developed by people from Detroit.

As Stalin knew, infrastructure is one of the keys to imperial power. Ancient Rome, the imperial dynasties of China, the Mesoamerican empires, the Islamic empire of the caliphs, the British Empire, and finally our own global imperium all rested on massive infrastructure projects.

As long as megaprojects are driven by narrow politics

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