September 04, 2007

Horse 802 - Public Infrastructure

... or "Why I Hate The M7"

Infrastructure - The term has diverse meanings in different fields, but is perhaps most widely understood to refer to public utilities. These various elements may collectively be termed civil infrastructure, municipal infrastructure, or simply public works, although they may be developed and operated as private-sector or government enterprises.

Although government is subject to cost overruns, public works were originally provided for the greater public benefit. It makes sense that these things ought to be provided at relatively cheap costs as everyone benefits from them irrespective of social class and income.

In contrast, the role of private enterprise and indeed any business is not "excellent customer service" as so many mission statements would have you believe, but a return of wealth either in the form of dividends or increased value to the people it's responsible to.

Because of this in the pursuit of profits private enterprises tend to drive input costs downwards (like maintenance) and/or increase prices to the end consumer; both of these are in direct opposition to the reason for the existance of public works. An obvious conflict exists.

For this reason, I personally think that the following should be included as Public Infrastructure:

- Roads, Highways, Motorways and the Bridges therein
- Railways, Tramways, and the Bridges therein
- Airports
- Control of the Water supply and Water Resources
- Wastewater Management
- Electric Power Generation and Transmission
- Telecommunications Lines, Towers and Mobile Transmission
- Postal and Common Carriage Services
- Police, Hospitals, Schools, Universities, Defence Forces and Coast Guards
- Regulation of the Money Supply and Taxation

I see any private company in these areas as an affront to society and would prefer their shutdown and return to government hands immediately. In addition to this I think it would be good in principle to have a government owned bank and some form of government owned media outlet simply to drive costs to the public downwards by setting a benchmark.

So what brought this on? Namely that I agree with a Galaxy Poll which came to the conclusion that the Government's $17bn surplus was not as a result of good economic management but taxpayers paying too much tax. Guess what? They want it back in the form of better hospitals, schools and roads or both... ie Public Infrastructure. The very thing which for the past 20 years the government has been selling off.

Guess what again? Now that infrastructure is in private hands, it's not returning. If you can't afford those services, too bad - Private Enterprise is not responsible to you. SUFFER!

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