Myth of the 20th Century – Episode 72: Critical Infrastructure – Scale Up, Power Down

Social Matter
June 2, 2018

Welcome to the Myth of the 20th Century. The podcast airs on Fridays.

— Brought to you by —

Nick Mason and Adam Smith with special guest Dark Enlightenment


Why is it that when you land at an airport in a foreign country the runways shine a bit brighter, the sound of the aircraft hums a little quieter, and the customs and immigration staff work just a bit more smoothly? If you’re an American, it probably means you’re visiting an airport in Europe or increasingly Asia. If you’re visiting America, it probably means you’re coming from Latin America, poorer parts of Asia, or increasingly the Middle East and Africa. Why these differences exist, and why the tendency of the quality of life seems to reflect the demographic trends more than any other factor should be obvious to anyone who has traveled. In the United States, where the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the state of U.S. infrastructure a grade of D+, the increasing costs and lower quality returns of pouring ever more money into a decaying road, telecom, and public utility system are indicative of deeper societal problems that go beyond explanations of red tape or sheer size and complexity. When the whole of America seems to be lesser than sum of its parts – perhaps the conclusion should be that the parts should no longer be added together.


– Infrastructure: The Book of Everything for the Industrial Landscape, Hayes (2005)
– World Made by Hand, Kunstler (2009)
– Antifragile, Taleb (2012)
– NAFTA Is 20 Years Old – Here Are 20 Facts That Show How It Is Destroying The Economy, Zerohedge (2014) –
– A 2,500% budget overrun: the story of the Bay Bridge’s dramatic cost inflation from $250M to $6.5B, Ingalls (2015) –
– How a Chinese company bought access to admissions officers at top U.S. colleges, Reuters (2016) – https://www.reuters.cominvestigates/special-report/college-charity/
– D.C.’s Dysfunctional Metro System Is a National Embarrassment, Haller (2017) –
– Transport bosses refuse to release surveillance footage of a rash of train robberies on the BART to ‘avoid racist stereotyping of suspects’, Daily Mail (2017) –
– The University Empire, Landry (2017) –
– 10 Years After Bridge Collapse, America Is Still Crumbling, Schaper (2017) –
– Myth Of The 20th Century – Episode 27: The American Dream, Cities, Promise and Peril, Myth of the 20th Century (2017) –
– America’s Infrastructure Scores a D+, American Society of Civil Engineers (2017) –
– James Howard Kunstler –
– Rebel Yell 230: Dark Enlightenment, Muh Colonies (2017) –
– The Trump-China ‘intimidation trade game’ is getting ugly, Bryan (2018) –
– Agricultural Subsidies, Edwards (2018) –
– Power outages hit parts of Johannesburg, ENCA (2018) –
– Survival Podcast, Spirko –
– Strong Towns –


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