Archive for Railroads

China Plans Railroad to Seattle, and More

125px-Flag_of_the_People's_Republic_of_China.svgThe Chinese government is desperate to keep its bubble economy going, and one way it’s doing that is by spending on massive infrastructure projects. The “China Bubble,” built on huge construction projects such as subways, skyscrapers, highways, and housing, continues to astound with the sheer numbers involved, from the height of the skyscrapers to the miles of track laid.

This sort of spending has become a central part of the Chinese economy:

In the last few years, cities’ efforts have helped government infrastructure and real estate spending surpass foreign trade as the biggest contributor to China’s growth. Subways and skyscrapers, in other words, are replacing exports of furniture and iPhones as the symbols of this nation’s prowess.

This naturally has many political uses, from full employment to rising GDP growth, as noted by Doug French in 2011:

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‘Hell on Wheels,’ Jeff Deist on the Austrian School, and More

janfmAlready in mailboxes is the January edition of The Free Market, the Mises Institute’s monthly.

In this issue, Ryan McMaken writes on the AMC show Hell on Wheels and the transcontinental railroads:

Hell on Wheels wastes no time in making it quite clear that this is not the story of heroic entrepreneurs or industrialist visionaries. It is the story of con artists and thieves capitalizing on the expansionist ideology of a militarized and war-torn society.

Durant, wishing to extract as much money as he can from the federal government, chastises his workers for seeking to build the railroad efficiently, reminding them that “this undertaking is being subsidized by the enormous teat of the federal government” and that the railroad, which is being paid by the mile, should use a much longer route in order to take advantage of “this never-ending money-gushing nipple” that is the U.S. Treasury.

Because of its political provenance and its lack of participation in any functioning markets, the railroad exists forever on the brink of chaos and bankruptcy as Durant must manage politicians and stockholders to ensure that his corrupt show can go on.

And Mises Institute President Jeff Deist discusses what attracted him to Austrian economics:

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