American dream and the slow wasting of the US’s public infrastructure…

At the Telegraph blog, Tim Stanley demonstrates (intentionally, or otherwise) the tensioned US politicians must walk between between a long term collective public interest and the needs of a private entreprise that’s brought life-changing technology to a much wider world.

But in the case of the US, this is not simply a government versus private citizen tension. The US is at heart and sole a Whiggish Republic. You have to go north of the 49th parallel to encounter Tory Canada, which springs from a much more truly conservative tradition.

So world capital’s formost political capital’s electricity was down for three days leaving its citizens (rich and poor) in 112 degrees of sweltering heat. To be strictly fair, it was in part the result of what they call high stress days on the local infrastructure (like the flooding in Belfast)

But there is some evidence that the power companies have been letting preventative measures slide to the point now where they rest on the horns of a dilemma of whether to enact a long term and very expensive exercise of burying power lines.

No country can afford the astronomical cost of burying all its power lines. But the American public wants a solution, yet seems to have become adverse to pricing in the good maintenance even of its roads and bridges systems.

You cannot teach a leopard to change its spots. We Europeans are slow to learn new tricks too. But we do have our genuine genuine conservative traditions which, ironically perhaps, allows us to socialise certain public and private burdens much more readily than the US.

Finding the resources to repair several generations of neglect of public goods will not be any easier at a time when there is little or no resources to spend…


  • aquifer

    A key measure is Resilience. It is not clear that infrastructure in America would still serve the economy with a $200 a barrel oil price. Compact Europe with its better public transportation would do better, though cheap private air conditioners or new heat pumps can overload public electricity lines anywhere.