Infrastructure as a legacy

Leftists are notoriously interested only in the distribution of goods and services. They virtually ignore the process of producing goods and services.  They seem to think that goods and services drop down upon us like manna from heaven.  It is precisely that insouciance that makes socialist countries poor.  They just don't know how to arrange wealth creation efficiently so hamper it rather than fostering it.

And they seem to think the same about infrastructure such as roads, hospitals and schools  They give no thought to how those things come to be so and are very poor at providing them.  People who need the latest medical procedures don't go to Russia.  They go to the USA.

I think however that it is highly relevant to think about the origins of our infrastructure.  It didn't get there by accident and its distribution is not random.  Some countries have better infrastructure than others. So who provided that infrastructure and who owns it?

A very large part of our infrastructure was put there by our ancestors.  They built the roads and buildings which we use today.  And the ownership varies.  Some is in private hands and some in government hands. But in an important sense it is a legacy to all of us today bequeathed to us by our ancestors.  Some of it is best in private and and some is regarded as best in government hands but we all benefit from it enormously.  Our entire modern life depends heavily on what we have collectively inherited from the past.  We didn't build the road we drive on or the hospitals and schools that we use.  We come into the world with most of what we use already laid out for us by our ancestors

Not all that we use will be inherited of course.  But it will be the development of an inheritance.  It might be a new road we drive on and a new school we attend.  But the building of that road and that school will have depended on all sorts of things from the past -- tools, techniques, machinery and the product of blast furnaces -- that have steadily evolved first in the hands of our ancestors and then in our hands.

So it seems to me that the physical facilities of our country that we use are just as much a legacy as is money left to us in a relative's will.  They were not produced by accident but were the product of work and ingenuity -- and we ourselves continue to build on those foundations.  We too enable the provision of infrastructure -- mainly through our taxes in the modern world but sometimes directly

I for instance have had a considerable presence in the real estate industry. I often took on semi-derelict buildings and organized their renovation.  Since I live in a capitalist country I did it entirely for my own private profit and did indeed earn significant income from my activities.  I have long ago sold the properties concerned and have money in the bank instead.  But the important point is that the properties I took on are now upgraded and will  be in that upgraded state when I die. I took existing things from the past and built on them to make them into better things.  That will be a legacy I leave when I die.  I will have left the infrastructure better than I found it and others will benefit from that.

I am aware that what I have just been saying sounds very much  like Obama's famous claim, "You didn't build that", so I think I had better do a little bit of differentiation.  He was of course right in pointing out that all we do depends in many ways on the work, past and present, that others do or have done. But what significance he saw in that is a bit mysterious. The most I can make of it was that he thought businesses should be thankful to the government and be humbled by its wise provisions.  By contrast, I would argue that the government is just another tool we have set up for achieving desired results. And I would argue that it is largely our ancestors we should thank for the infrastructure we daily rely on.

But what about immigrants?  Do they have any right to what is in fact our legacy?  They have not inherited anything  from our country or brought much, if anything, to it.  I think it is clear that they do to an extent steal our legacy.

That is particularly clear in the case of Australia.  Recent governments have allowed a large "refugee" influx and that does harm us.  Our roads are now more congested, our public hospitals can barely cope and our schools are overcrowded and short of good teachers.  Such is the demand for teachers created by the active wombs of refugees that teacher standards have had to be lowered to near oblivion. Students with almost any High School pass are being accepted into teachers' colleges.  And on top of that we have to feed the "refugees".  Only a minority find employment and become self supporting.

But for various reasons good and bad our governments keep letting the refugees in and in so doing dilute that assets we all have to work with. With not a care in the world our governments have given away a significant part of our inheritance.  I think it should stop.  I don't think our government should give away what is the right of those of us who were born here.

So what do I propose?  A just policy would be to allow into our country only those who have paid for the privilege.  Citizenship could be bought.  And the proceeds would go to the construction of new infrastructure that would cope with the expanded population.

That's not going to happen, of course, but greater selectivity of some sort would certainly be fairer than the present system.  The less our inherited assets are handed to others the better.  I personally would be selective by allowing in only outsiders who are similar to the majority population  -- essentially other people of European origin.  They at least had ancestors who worked hard and effectively to improve their given environment so could help continue our ongoing work of improving our facilities, infrastructure and environment -- JR

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