U.S. Megaprojects Are Not in the U.S.

Some say the age of mega infrastructure projects is over in the U.S., but this piece from <em>Foreign Policy</em> argues the U.S. megaproject lives on -- just not inside the U.S.
December 14, 2009, 8am PST | Nate Berg
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The U.S. is actively building a swath of megaprojects, but they are mostly in foreign countries. Stephen M. Walt, Professor of International Relations at Harvard University, calls out the irony.

"[I]t's not as though the United States hasn't started some big public works projects over the past decade or so; it just hasn't been doing them here at home. We've spent billions constructing military bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, and another billion or more on a giant embassy in Baghdad and another one in Pakistan. Needless to say, those "public works" projects are a drain on the U.S. economy rather than a source of additional productivity.

As I've said before, Americans have come to believe that spending government revenues on U.S. citizens here at home is usually a bad thing and should be viewed with suspicion, but spending billions on vast social engineering projects overseas is the hallmark of patriotism and should never be questioned. This position makes no sense, but it is hard to think of a prominent U.S. leader who is making an explicit case for doing somewhat less abroad so that we can afford to build a better future here at home."

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Published on Tuesday, December 1, 2009 in Foreign Policy
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