Dying Longton, Part Eight; The Seen Vs. The Unseen

Started by CCarl, January 14, 2023, 10:25:17 PM

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What A Beautiful Bridge
Seen Versus Unseen

Copyright © MMXXIII CCarl

See our beautiful new bridge crossing the inlet to the bay our city is built alongside? The architecturally designed, arching dynamic is a wonderful frame to the inlet beneath it, as viewed from our town, and from boats and ships in the ocean. Its height, and clear span of the inlet, allow the largest commercial ships to enter our bay. The bridge's six lanes of traffic offer speed and safety to our commuters, and to travelers as they visit us. It has won our community two international awards for its beauty and merit, one from the United Nations, and one from the International Order of Structural Engineers. The bridge is a marvel for its 3.3 billion dollar cost, worth every penny spent on it for several more generations of our community.

That is a typical summary of what the politicians, bureaucrats, banksters, and corporate world in general always say about their latest, favorite project. Note the over-emphasis on 'our'. The mainstream media, including most social media, will promote it and advertise its virtues in a constant barrage to convince the people of the bridge's merits; and of the various governments' necessity, and sincere effort to make our lives better. All that is the Seen. It always has its story repeated endlessly, no matter the project; a bridge, a vaccine, a fighter jet, a new public administration building, a public housing project, ad nauseum.

But is it true, is the Seen really all it claims? An answer to that is never provided, because the question is rarely asked. What about the Unseen, a question never asked? How does the Seen compare to the Unseen?

The Unseen has several aspects. What did the new bridge replace? Was the old bridge too deteriorated? Did its structure and or location restrict ship commerce? Were there fewer lanes for vehicle traffic? Were those lanes too congested? Too congested all the time, or just during peak hours? What were the annual maintenance costs of the old bridge? What were the estimates to repair the old bridge to an acceptable condition? What mitigating measures were possible to address the old bridge's perceived deficiencies? These questions are one aspect of the Unseen, in general what did 3.3 billion dollars replace? Those questions should have been asked and answered in the public input/preliminary approval phase of the new bridge. That is how proper government serves the people that organized it. But often those questions are addressed very superficially. The Seen typically wants to ignore the principle of necessity, i.e., was that new bridge a must do, or could the old bridge have sufficed?

What about the Unseen relative to the new bridge? What is its expected lifetime? What are its annual maintenance costs, and its total costs over that lifetime? Does the 3.3 billion dollars include interest on the debt incurred by bridge design and construction? What are the increases in insurance costs for the new bridge? Which bridge maintenance program would cost the taxpayer less, old bridge, or new? Were there other new bridge designs that may have been acceptable and cost less? Why was the 3.3 billion dollar bridge selected over other options, including a no action option?

What about the third aspect of the Unseen, an aspect that is rarely publicly discussed? Those politicians, bureaucrats, banksters, and corporatists do not want us to know this Unseen aspect exists, much less is worth considering. This is the most important aspect of the Unseen, it is the huge number of people that would benefit if taxpayers had been allowed to keep that $3.3 billion dollars, then spend it, or invest it, as they choose, in a free market. The number of people that would benefit is immense compared to the number that benefit from the new bridge, or any other public project. Economic and accounting theorists say that one dollar voluntarily spent in a free marketplace will be re-spent three to five times, depending on the size and diversity of the regional marketplace. And there is the reason this aspect of the Unseen is never discussed, the Unseen will always provide for the voluntary choices and options of many, many more people, regardless of how or where so-called public funds are spent. The Unseen always serves the greater good. No matter how beautifully that arching bridge crosses the inlet, the free market of Unseen choices and ideas is more beautiful.

This short, little story will be referenced in many of the future posts. It serves as a powerful example of what has been done in Longton versus what needs to be done in Longton.

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