Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Impact of Regulation, Quantified

One useful measure of the impact of irrational regulation is how long it takes to build large structures. Here are a few blasts from the past:
  • Empire State Building: 410 days.
  • The Pentagon: two years.
  • Gateway Arch: two years.
  • Golden Gate Bridge: four years.
  • Hoover Dam: five years.
  • Rockefeller Center (14 buildings): nine years (of which Radio City Music Hall was done in the first two years and 30 Rock in three).
Some of the additional time required today can be accounted for by increased valid safety measures and higher population in surrounding areas. But that's compensated for to some degree by better machinery and increased experience.

The net difference is attributable to nanny statist measures, Progressive/viro legal maneuvering, and politics. The difference is often not small. That's pretty obvious when you look at things like the former WTC site in Manhattan, which is still far from complete nine years later.

It's less obvious, but even more disturbing when you consider projects that are not even getting off the ground, such as the ten thousand new nuclear power plants the country needs.

Worst of all is the sheer destruction of useful projects torn down as a result of environmentalist activism, such as the many dams they boast of eliminating.

Time for a renaissance, one energized by the idea that Man the Builder is a noble creature, one who's earned the right to hold his head high. As a start, he should stop apologizing for transforming human existence from a life that was "nasty, brutish, and short" to something peaceful, comfortable, and oftimes dazzling. Then He can develop once again the pride that will motivate throwing off the shackles of the envious, the small, the anti-life.

Creative civil engineering isn't merely useful, it's glorious — and one because of the other.

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