What is infrastructure? Possible answer: The basic capabilities and support necessary for some form of existence…..
This could mean food, clothes (particularly when its cold), protection from threats. Maybe that is the basic level.
Once you have all that you tend to think of other stuff, like transportation, power, housing, and civil justice as infrastructure.
Once you have achieved a modern, western-world level of existence where such things are all provided, you start to consider healthcare, living wage or job, full education, and internet connectivity as infrastructure.
Somewhere in the future we might consider civilization on the planets, travel to and from, and genetic engineering for all as infrastructure.
What does it mean in 2018, with a booming economy, and a political class willing to spend vast resources on it?
I suggest that it means all of the above.
We need to spend ‘infrastructure’ money to make sure all the basic stuff (food, housing, jobs) are there for all. Not the food, housing, and jobs of the past- but the food we know to be better today, the fully tech-enabled housing of today, and the jobs of tomorrow.
We will also need to make sure that the transportation system, the power grid, and the civil justice system are redesigned for today and tomorrow. Let us not just rebuild the old systems. Let us build the new ones, designed for our time and the future.
Let us design the healthcare system of the future, not the waste time on the fixes needed in the present one. Let us invest in the bioengineering and technology of tomorrow, not just rebuild the inadequate hospitals of today.
Science and Technology have taken humankind from a lifespan of 35 years to more than 80 today. S&T has provided and defined what we call infrastructure, making life better every day.
When we say it is time to invest in Infrastructure, we are really saying it is time to invest in the science and technology that will become tomorrow’s infrastructure, and today’s.
Michael Swetnam is the CEO & Chairman of the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies.