A short prelude to a bigger post about the waning of the American empire. The more I look at the Chinese the more clear it becomes. Sure their economy isn’t mature yet, it’s not consumer driven, they don’t have good protections of workers or environment. However they have poured more money into infrastructure than any other country. In the early and mid 1900’s we had the highway construction act, FDR’s new deal and the WPA.
“The WPA built, improved or renovated 39,370 schools; 2,550 hospitals; 1,074 libraries; 2,700 firehouses; 15,100 auditoriums, gymnasiums and recreational buildings; 1,050 airports, 500 water treatment plants, 12,800 playgrounds, 900 swimming pools; 1,200 skating rinks, plus many other structures. It also dug more than 1,000 tunnels; surfaced 639,000 miles of roads and installed nearly 1 million miles of sidewalks, curbs and street lighting, in addition to tens of thousands of viaducts, culverts and roadside drainage ditches.”
A majority of that was built 1933-1940 and we still use half of it today. The national parks were founded a few decades before. All that infrastructure is getting old, it’s crumbling. China is popping out buildings left and right, they are building part of the highspeed rail project in California, they have plans to build a canal across Thailand reducing travel times of ships, a new canal in Panama, they have even more overly ambitious plans that would create the longest undersea tunnel in the world. China has international clout, they’ve invested huge sums of money to develop Africa. Soon they will have better international relationships than the US. While we march into year 15 of the war in Afghanistan, year number 12 in Iraq and after helping topple Libya and now Syria. We don’t have a lot of time left, international opinion is going to shift against us eventually. We don’t have many friends left and the ones we do have are only our friends because we provide security or we pay them with aid.