My dad was visiting Boston the other day, and we were talking about infrastructure, specifically, how bad Boston’s is, but how America’s infrastructure in general may be in trouble (see here for just a short argument to that effect).

This is worth further investigation in itself, but one thing I was thinking about is that it’s well known that late modernizers have an advantage. It’s much easier to build an electrical grid from scratch for a still evolving city rather than fix an aging one. For example, New York’s sewers are predominantly made of wood still and so fixing them is very expensive when they break. New cities on the other hand can start right with the good stuff.

It’s not that we couldn’t modernize in time with the benefits of infrastructure improvements, but often democratic politics makes its hard. People don’t really see the benefits of infrastructure improvements because they are dispersed, but the costs to provide them are very real.

The last thing that interests me is whether since now, in the age of technology, infrastructure is advancing rapidly, countries that modernize in 10 years might be MUCH better off than countries that modernized in 2000. The divide between countries might be enormous.


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