I wrote about scaling laksa in Millennials’ Narrative, and then I reminded us that we need to consider what we are scaling and are we really doing ourselves and others a service when we try to scale things. Infrastructure is one thing that originally appeared to be the sort of things that benefit from scaling. After all, they are more cost effective when distributed across more people. And they are a good way to distribute wealth.
But is bigger necessarily better? What sort of utilisation levels are we expecting, and how can we be sure that the trends in demand for the piece of utilisation will continue? What sort of income, positive externality and wealth will it create?
Today, infrastructure is too often about politics more than economics and we are worse off because of that. When we don’t properly size projects before working on them; when we focus overly on a piece of infrastructure than the overall system of infrastructure. Thinking long term about the maintenance, the lifecycle of the asset is important. How many governments are thinking through that enough?