This essay – Wal-Mart.  Too Big to Fail – by Charles Marohn in New Urban Network raises the basic question about the way we have financed it all, when we haven’t paid the full price for the infrastructure.

We all have a chance to live like European royalty on our suburban estates, but again, we are dependent on cheap energy, a massively complex and fragile supply chain, and an easy, stable money supply. We have no energy program. Period. No backup plan. We’ve spent ourselves in the public sector, but especially in the private sector, so far into debt that we have no reasonable chance of paying it back. We’ve not borrowed primarily to create things of value, just to consume. Again, no Plan B.

We can build millions and millions of dollars worth of infrastructure for the near-term growth it provides, finance it with cheap borrowing or subsidies from higher levels of government, but now we have to maintain it all with returns well short of what is needed. Didn’t anyone ponder this as we went?

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