Look Who’s Investing in Future Prosperity

As you might expect, it’s China, according to the New York Times:

Just as building the interstate highway system in the United States a half-century ago made modern commerce more feasible on a national scale, China’s ambitious rail rollout is helping to integrate the economy of this sprawling, populous nation. In China’s case, it is doing so on a much faster construction timetable and at significantly higher travel speeds than anything envisioned by the United States in the 1950s.

Work crews of as many as 100,000 people per line have built about half of the 16,000-kilometer, or 10,000-mile, network in just six years, in many cases ahead of schedule, including the Beijing-to-Shanghai line, which was originally planned to open next year. The entire system is still on course to be completed by 2020.

For the United States and Europe, the implications go beyond marveling at the pace of Communist-style civil engineering. As trains traveling 320 kilometers per hour link cities and provinces that were previously as much as 24 hours by road or rail from the entrepreneurial seacoast, China’s manufacturing might and global-export machine are likely to grow more powerful.

You can argue that high-speed rail doesn’t make as much economic sense for the US.  But while the Chinese are focused on infrastructure investments, what are we focused on?  Don’t ask.


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