If you’ve ever marveled at how unbelievably expensive it is for government to function, Charles Marohn at smalltowns.org has a sophisticated explanation for why the taxpayer is systemically screwed 7 ways to Sunday. Realtruth.org will give you the numbers and stark reality of the problem, and the facts of how the practical realities of crumbling infrastructure will soon begin significantly impinging on people’s daily lives. But as to what we can do about the grievous inefficiencies inherent in our government systems for repairing and replacing, it will only take a metacognizant philosophical reevaluation of how we reach solutions…something our society seems to be less and less adept at.
“…The longer the project takes, the more everyone gets paid. Change orders [on the project] — because of weather, redesign, special requests, etc… — often add to project costs and, even when they don’t, take time ($$) to administer. Once a government commits to a project, they are committing to an open checkbook. That check will be written in a system where nearly everyone involved will be compensated more the longer the project takes and the more expensive it becomes.
…On Infrastructure Island, this all makes sense. Nobody there is really unethical, it’s just that the incentives have perverted what, in other realms, would be seen as normal and acceptable. Make the project big. Make it take a long time. Create a lot of overruns. Don’t maintain it until it falls apart catastrophically. Few on Infrastructure Island set out to do these things, but they happen and nobody loses a lot of sleep over it. That’s because, for the players involved, there is little negative feedback and lots of positive feedback associated with these perverse outcomes.”