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Infrastructure is the pillar of every strong economy. A closer look at all the developed nations is a clear indication of this fact. The growth in infrastructure was ushered in by the end of the World War II in a period popularly known as the postwar economic boom. Although this mostly occurred in western countries, several eastern nations such as South Korea and Japan also undertook these developments. This move enabled them to achieve accelerated economic growth despite the destruction they suffered during the world war. Recently, the People’s Republic of China has made heavy investments in the infrastructure of both Asia and Africa in the realization of the value it brings, setting in motion a faster economic development for the developing nations. This shows that no nation can experience great economic development without investing in its infrastructure.
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Without adequate energy infrastructure such as electricity, industrialization cannot thrive. Industries are essential to any economy (Mountjoy, 2017). Without it, a country is burdened with the importation of goods which only depresses its economy. On the other hand, if a country is capable of producing its own goods for consumption and extra for exportation, then this earns it foreign exchange. A closer look at China can confirm this. China’s heavy industrialization enables the country to export goods which is one of the factors that has contributed to it becoming a rising superpower (Brandt, Ma,& Rawski, 2016). All the developed nations have invested heavily in the production of power. Industries consume this electricity at a cheaper cost enabling them to produce goods at lower cost hence better prices for their consumers both locally and internationally. Exportation of these goods leads to the growth of the country’s economy. Furthermore, electricity does not only benefit large industries but also Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).
Energy infrastructure contributes to a 24-hour economy which is very good for SME growth. Without sufficient lighting at night, businesses cannot run efficiently (Brands, Schwanen, & Van Aalst, 2015). Businesses have to close once darkness enters. This is a factor that has weakened the economic growth of many developing countries. Once nightfall comes in, citizens of these countries have to close their businesses and retire to their homes. Meanwhile developed countries continue in their businesses. This contributes to the economic disparities between the countries. Satellite images confirm that at night, the continent of Africa is largely dark while others such as Europe and North America are heavily lit. A 24-hr economy facilitated by adequate lighting at night enables the growth of SMEs which leads to the growth of the economy. Besides energy, road infrastructure is crucial for any economy.
All sectors of the economy require a road infrastructure, be it the industries, agriculture, white-collar or blue-collar. How else will the agriculture produce be transported to the markets or to the airports for exportation before it goes bad, especially in the case of perishable goods? Raw materials for the various goods also need convenient access to roads for transportation to industries. Finished goods require to be delivered to retailers for consumption (Coşar & Demir, 2016). Additionally, roads open up remote areas making them more accessible. Besides being beneficial to the businesses, the general public also greatly benefits from roads. It makes getting from the suburbs to the offices more convenient. The manual laborers can also move around much easier. Thus roads improve all the sectors of the economy. Closely related to the roads is the railway.
The ability of trains to carry more quantity of goods and people as well as their higher speeds makes them essential to any economy. All the developed nations have an elaborate railway network. Railways overcome some of the limitations associated with road transport such as traffic jams which lead to slowing down of the economy. Modern trains such as bullet trains allow for quicker movements of goods to consumers and workers to their offices (Wang & Wu, 2015). However, it is not only inland infrastructure that is necessary but also the sea.
Ships are essential for importation as well as exportation. For instance, countries import raw materials such as crude oil and other raw materials through seaports and export finished goods through the same means (Park & Seo, 2016). This earns the country the much needed foreign exchange for economic growth. The alternative means for this work would be the airplanes. However, they are more expensive and much limited in the capacity they can carry. Thus ships are preferred for their larger capacity and ability to carry heavier goods such as crude oil and heavy
One might argue that good governance is more important for the growth of the economy than infrastructure. After all, the majority of the countries experiencing political instability have a poor economy while developed countries have political stability (Tabassam, Hashmi, & Rehman, 2016). Take a country like Syria; the political turmoil has set them backward with many of the citizens fleeing to become refugees in other nations. The economic crisis in Venezuela is also evidence of how governance can affect the economy. While this might appear convincing, it is not the case. Indeed it is true that good governance is important to the economy but only to the point of creating a suitable environment for trade activities. Infrastructure plays a much bigger role in economic development. This is the reason why developing countries such as those in Africa are continually investing heavily in infrastructure despite experiencing political stability.
Another argument is that Education is more significant than infrastructure in the growth of the economy. This point can arise from the fact that an uneducated nation cannot provide the required professional capacity to operate businesses across different sectors (Carnoy, 2017). Such nations end up importing labor whereby the laborers send their incomes back home. Education definitely contributes to the success of any nation. However, it should be noted that without proper infrastructure, education cannot do much to grow an economy. Take a case scenario of a student who studies well and graduates with a great GPA. Such a person can either seek employment or become self-employed. But suppose there is no infrastructure to facilitate businesses, then this fresh graduate will be jobless. Self-employment will not be possible since there is no proper infrastructure to support a starting business. Hence, infrastructure is of great importance to every economy.
There is no nation can experience great economic development without investing in its infrastructure. Heavy investments must be directed towards the energy sector, roads, railways, seaports, and airports for a country to achieve economic growth. Industrialization, SMEs, white-collar, and blue-collar sectors all rely on adequate infrastructure to thrive. Without this, even factors such as good governance and education cannot grow an economy. Where would we be without roads, railways, airports, seaports, and power? Simply we would be in the dark and confined with no way to move to different points. Sounds exactly like the life of the ancient man.
Brands, J., Schwanen, T., & Van Aalst, I. (2015). Fear of crime and affective ambiguities in the night-time economy. Urban Studies, 52(3), 439-455.
Brandt, L., Ma, D., & Rawski, T. G. (2016). Industrialization in China.
Carnoy, M. (2017). Education, economy and the state. In Cultural and economic reproduction in education (pp. 79-126). Routledge.
Coşar, A. K., & Demir, B. (2016). Domestic road infrastructure and international trade: Evidence from Turkey. Journal of Development Economics, 118, 232-244.
Mountjoy, A. B. (2017). Industrialization and underdeveloped countries. Routledge.
Park, J. S., & Seo, Y. J. (2016). The impact of seaports on the regional economies in South Korea: Panel evidence from the augmented Solow model. Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, 85, 107-119.
Tabassam, A. H., Hashmi, S. H., & Rehman, F. U. (2016). Nexus between political instability and economic growth in Pakistan. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 230, 325-334.
Wang, Y., & Wu, B. (2015). Railways and the local economy: evidence from Qingzang railway. Economic Development and Cultural Change, 63(3), 551-588.
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