02 July 2012

The World's Greatest Third-World Country

Don't listen to anyone who says USA #2!
At Marginal RevolutionAlex Tabarrok reviews the potential sound infrastructural improvements even a libertarian can love. He concludes by discussing the state of the sewers in Washington, D.C.:

And it’s not just rail, sewers and the water supply are another example. Consider:
The average D.C. water pipe is 77 years old, but a great many were laid in the 19th century. Sewers are even older. Most should have been replaced decades ago.
Does that sound like the infrastructure of an advanced nation?
The answer, of course, is no. And the continuing power outages in the District and nearby cities only point to the astounding levels of failure that Americans implicitly tolerate. For more than a decade, it's been clear to just about all Americans who travel that we "enjoy" perhaps the worst infrastructure in the advanced world. Our cell phone service sucks. Our Internet sucks. Our trains suck big time. Our domestic airlines are so bad even non-traveling Americans notice. Our schools are frankly godawful. And from time to time giant sinkholes open up or transformers explode in our major metropolitan areas and we think, gee, maybe we ought to do something about that.

But we don't. It's sometimes hard for me to understand why the continuing ensuckening of much of American life has been met with resignation or calls for the state to withdraw from providing services instead of with calls for getting things done.

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