Seminars About Long-term Thinking: James Fallows: Civilization's Infrastructure
November 10, 2015 8:35 PM - Subscribe

Infrastructure decisions—and failures to decide—affect everything about a society for centuries. That long shadow, James Fallows points out, is what makes the decisions so difficult, because "We must choose among options whose consequences we can't fully anticipate." What we do know is that infrastructure projects are hugely disruptive and expensive in the short term, and neglecting to deal with infrastructure is even more disruptive and expensive in the long term. What would a healthy civilization do?
posted by eotvos (1 comment total)
I found this episode fascinating, and it certainly plays to many of my biases. But, is it really true that we typically overestimate short term hardship and underestimate long term benefits in selecting large public infrastructure projects? There seem to be plenty examples of boondogles that either failed to live up to their hype or turned out to be actively bad for communities in the long term. If anything, big and risky legacy projects seem more likely to get support at the all levels of government than small and obviously good projects that aren't likely to get named after anybody.
posted by eotvos at 9:22 PM on November 10, 2015

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