[extropy-chat] Psychology of investments in infrastructure

BillK pharos at gmail.com
Wed Jun 21 09:44:53 UTC 2006

On 6/21/06, Samantha Atkins wrote:
> Productivity for one.  I would give a lot to have all those wasted
> hours to use on meaningful tasks.  Poor utilization of waking hours
> for millions of people day after day.   Poor utilization of money to
> pay for the cars, gas, upkeep, roads, parking in order merely to drag
> physical bodies to some central location whether physical presence is
> needed or not.  A lot of this is ritualistic stupid behavior.   Not
> to mention that cars and trucks in the US account for 66% of our oil
> use.   If we could cut that significantly we might not be involved in
> a costly pointless war or two.   A large economic drain could be
> lifted to the degree we telecommute or have some other means of
> "going in to work" when we actually physically need to be there.

In the older countries in Europe freeways mostly had to be built in
orbital roads around cities and through open country between cities.
This means that in order to drive into a city in rush hour you have to
chug along in a traffic jam for an hour or so.  That's why bus, light
rail, intercity railway and underground rail systems are much more
common in Europe.

People used to read books and newspapers while commuting by rail but
nowadays the "tssk, tssk, tssk" of Ipods is pretty much universal. Not
much productivity going on there.

The suicide bombs on the London underground last year had little
effect. Mainly because car driving in London rush hour is pretty well
an impossible alternative to rail travel.

Old people will tell you stories about the London blitz. Night after
night of waves of German bombers. Every day when they went to work
they would see houses demolished, sometimes whole streets. The same
applied to cities in Europe that were bombed to destruction. The
civilian and military casualties in WWII make today's few deaths pale
in comparison.

As Russell pointed out deaths and injuries on the roads, or many other
causes, far outweigh the efforts of terrorists.


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