Why America Can’t Build Big Things

guangzhou_rail_greeningIt’s a commonplace to say that the U.S. doesn’t build anything anymore — the economy is completely about tech and services, not manufacturing. (Even our country’s signature product, the i(fill in the blank), is made abroad). Still, the U.S. does build a few things still, including cars. What we don’t seem to be able to do in the 21st century, is complete the big projects: high-speed trains, gleaming new infrastructure. Every time something is proposed, it either takes years to approve or, once approved, gets killed once the costs inch upward. Other countries (and not just China, whose West Kowloon railway terminus is pictured above) aren’t so timid. Where’s American dynamism gone?

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