Aaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 8021 posts, RR: 26 Posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 1508 times:
One of the better op-eds to surface in recent times from the cesspool of mixed-bag journalism that is the NYT - Friedman's not always on the mark but he hit this one out of the park. The piece focuses on Obama but both candidates need to have a renewal of American infrastructure as a primary component of their economic revitalization and job creation plans.
I couldn’t help but reflect on how China and America have spent the last seven years: ...they’ve been building better stadiums, subways, airports, roads and parks. And we’ve been building better metal detectors, armored Humvees and pilotless drones.
The difference is starting to show. Just compare arriving at La Guardia’s dumpy terminal in New York City and driving through the crumbling infrastructure into Manhattan with arriving at Shanghai’s sleek airport and taking the 220-mile-per-hour magnetic levitation train...
[i]...it is our time to get back to work on the only home we have, our time for nation-building in America. I never want to tell my girls — and I’m sure Obama feels the same about his — that they have to go to China to see the future.
LTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13028 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 22 hours ago) and read 1500 times:
Don't forget in China they don't have any independent unions, most of the construction workers are practically slaves in terms of real pay and they don't care much for worker safety.
Mr. Friedman does make a very valid point as our infrastructure problems hurt our economy, including government, individuals and businesses. Too many roads are in poor condition ruining many cars, with too many bottlenecks slowing traffic too much as well as elevated roads and bridges overloaded and unsafe. We need more and new water reservoirs, water/sewer water treatment plants, more public hospitals, medical facilities, schools and affordable housing. Many places need gas, water, sewer, electrical and telephone lines replaced. We also need to move swiftly to more enviromentally sound and less oil consuming sources of electrical energy and transportaion equipment.
Of course, the main offshoot is millions of good paying jobs which would help the economy.
Then the problem comes from paying for it. Higher taxes on motor fuels - I doubt it with 3.45 to 5.00 +/Gal. pricing squeezing many businesses as well as moderate to poor residents. We can't raise other taxes such as corporate and income taxes.
I think what should be done is have a national conference, meeting with McCain and Obama on these issues or a major focus of one of their 'debates'.
RJdxer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 21 hours ago) and read 1479 times:
Travel 200 miles outside of Shanghai and where is the mag lev train? Friedman is a modern day version of those that promoted the Soviet Union as a workers paradise. He picked the oldest and least updated of the 3 major New York airports. I won't bother with the property rights issues associated with doing similar things in this country.
Aaron747 From Japan, joined Aug 2003, 8021 posts, RR: 26
Reply 4, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 15 hours ago) and read 1441 times:
Quoting RJdxer (Reply 2): Travel 200 miles outside of Shanghai and where is the mag lev train?
He points that out in unquoted portions of the editorial. With 93 new airports coming on line and 400,000 km of new rail and high speed rail to follow by 2030, according to the Economist, the larger point is how's it going to look when all we've got in comparison is the crumbling legacy of our built-out past?
Quoting DLPMMM (Reply 3): Whoever the Op-ed author is has obviousle never seen either how the average Chinses person lives, nor has ever seen the infrastructure over 95% of China.
Again, in unquoted parts of the editorial he mentions that this is not the de facto standard for anywhere other than new urban China. That said, it's an example of how quickly things can get done where the proper motivation exists.
Quoting RJdxer (Reply 2): I won't bother with the property rights issues associated with doing similar things in this country.
Funding and the sordid lawyer salary-padding schemes known as environmental impact reporting are much larger issues.
If you need someone to blame / throw a rock in the air / you'll hit someone guilty
DLPMMM From United States of America, joined Apr 2005, 3589 posts, RR: 10
Reply 6, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1423 times:
Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 4): Again, in unquoted parts of the editorial he mentions that this is not the de facto standard for anywhere other than new urban China. That said, it's an example of how quickly things can get done where the proper motivation exists.
But even in the cities, the infrastructure sucks. They have a few high profile infrastructure pieces, but for the most part their current infrastructure inside the cities are terrible.
You can't drink the water because the water treatment infrastructure (both fresh and sewer) is not up to standards. The air and water pollution is awful because no pollution abatement infrastructure to speak of at the State owned enterprises. Roads built in the last few years are already breaking up due to sub-standard materials used (by way of corruption often). Far too few roads for the number of vehicles, both in the urban areas and nationwide. The electrical grid is shaky at best. Everyone uses pre-paid cell phones because the wired telephone grid is archaic. The health system isn't close to being able to provide adequate care for the masses either in terms of quality or quantity.....
They spent a bunch of money on a few high profile projects (Mag-Lev and a couple of major highways) and ignored the major infrastructure problems that need to be addressed.
I do not think that this is a very good example for other countries to follow.
Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 4): He points that out in unquoted portions of the editorial. With 93 new airports coming on line and 400,000 km of new rail and high speed rail to follow by 2030, according to the Economist, the larger point is how's it going to look when all we've got in comparison is the crumbling legacy of our built-out past?
New airports and rail lines that should have been built over the last 50 years but weren't because of their political system. Now they will build the TRANSPORTATION infrastructure, but at the expense of other priorities. Don't think that these new rail lines (other than the small amount of high speed rail) will be in any better condition than USA rail lines after a couple of years. The workmanship of the Chinese on these sorts of projects is not exemplary.
They will then proclaim their success in the high profile ventures (even if not successful) while millions die from their abject refusal to address the more pressing needs of the citizens.
Lowrider From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 3220 posts, RR: 10
Reply 7, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1415 times:
Quoting PPVRA (Reply 5): The Chinese need to come to the U.S. to see the future of their own infrastructure, Mr Friedman. Then, don't follow the same path.
Too true. Like any complex item, the acquisition is the easy part. It is the upkeep that is the real burden. The US is decades behind in infrastructure development. It will take a decades long plan to fix and maintain it. No one seems to think beyond the next election cycle any more. A secondary consideration is that we currently could not pay for such a plan if we even had one.
RJdxer From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 8, posted (5 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 1396 times:
Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 4): He points that out in unquoted portions of the editorial.
Does he also point out what sort of quality those projects are? A quick check of how just the schools held up during the recent earthquakes would be an indication of the quality of building materials and workmanship. Our infrastructure may be old but with few instances it is far superior to that found in China.