If we look overall at the value of infrastructure—that’s what I want to focus on today, because there are aspects of infrastructure that make it different from anything else in the economy. Wrong economic thinking about it prevents financing and prevents it from being built, and holds us back from reaping all of the benefits that we could from investments in these sorts of projects.
The Value of Infrastructure
A Note To Readers
The reports this week include an interesting set of studies that describe a new wave pattern in the upper atmosphere that may be responsible both for the long drought and the freight train of storms that ended the drought this winter. That is followed by a warning that new El Nino conditions are developing across the Pacific, which could mean next winter will be wet.
June and July could see flooding as the “gigantic” snowpack melts in the Sierras. More warnings of a fragile levee system not being able to hold back those waters is the follow-on.
Then we have our Oroville Dam update featuring the experts evaluation of why the spillway collapsed. That is followed by more articles on the state of other dams in the state.
Desalination is back in the news, with what appears a shift in the thinking of some people. Senator Boxer is promoting the building of the plant at Huntington Beach and the Sacramento Bee says to cut out the bullshit of permitting delays and build that Huntington Beach plant. Also Santa Barbara will now, starting this week, provide water to 30 percent of its population from the new plant just opening.
I do hope readers enjoy the irony in the report of the damage that the environmentalist culturally-allied pot growers are doing to the forests, streams and wildlife of northern California. As the author of the article concludes, “The pot you smoke may be grown on the carcass of a dead fisher.”
As we should well know by now, the future of water in California is fundamentally a question of infrastructure. So, as most readers of this report should know by now, that is my focus. Therefore, the following three paragraphs must be called to the attention of all Americans.
In just three days, in Beijing, humanity’s future will be mapped out at the “The Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation.” For the past three years the Belt and Road policy of China has become the greatest economic and infrastructure building program in human history. The conference beginning on May 14 will see the heads of state from twenty-eight nations converging on Beijing for China’s first official international forum on the Belt and Road Initiative. Also called, “The New Silk Road,” this project already encompassing more than 70 nations and more than half of the world’s population, is the door to the future.
Although it does not appear that President Trump will attend, what is clear is that his administration is moving rapidly toward the U.S. joining the Belt and Road Initiative one way or another. China’s experience in building modern infrastructure and the potential funding from China’s holdings of more than $1 trillion in U.S. Treasury Bills, represent the pathway for the President’s infrastructure policy to actually become a reality.
The German newspaper, the Rheinische Post, today quotes China’s consul-general in Duesseldorf, Haiyang Feng: “We should take the idea of a new Silk Road as a win-win situation for all countries that participate in it. We are experiencing an era of crises: terrorism, wars and refugee streams, plus a shrinking world economy. Hardly a country in the world still has the will nor the courage to think for the future and act accordingly. The Chinese idea of a new Silk Road can, therefore, also be seen as a hope-promoting answer for this new era, and that is exactly why this initiative is welcomed by more and more countries in the world.“
This week’s report will conclude with a discussion of infrastructure– what it is, why it is so important, and how it is a distinguishing characteristic of our species.