As we in the field of economics know, there are many forms of investment. We make our own investments everyday–we invest our time, our money, in our education, and so on. Additionally, we know that with each investment comes the opportunity cost of that choice. But today in my Geog elective we talked about two certain kinds of infrastructural investments that are both crucial to a city’s better development, and my prof really made me think about the choices a government or leader must make.
First we have the investment in things like roads and communication systems. They lead to very immediate development. As my prof loves to remind us, if you build a road, developments will follow almost instantly. I also learned that although people think it’s nice to just keep building new roads, we actually have to do so with more thought and care because wherever a road it built, lots of other things tend to follow. Communication and roads are essential, and they are definitely the spark of much development. But to focus on these things forever is not enough. We can’t just settle for simple skills.
This is where the other form of investment comes in, which includes this like education and healthcare. Their fruits aren’t apparent right away, in fact the changes that they bring are more intergenerational than anything. However, these are the kinds of investments that are much more sustaining. They bring quality, skilled labor to cities and they truly improve the quality of life. In new age cities, it is the presence of these things–especially good universities–that truly make a difference.
I guess we can see at this point that both forms of investment have their purposes. And not only that, but both are necessary. One cannot completely serve its purpose without the other. These may seem trivial or obvious to some people, but this topic truly resonated with me because these two conflicting choices represent something that I, too, am a little conflicted about. Personally, I know for sure that I’m pursuing an Economics degree because I want to help our society, but I’ve been torn up until now as to how I specifically plan to use this. Do I want to build up this city? On the other hand, I’ve always been interested in building people. Fortunately I still have time to figure that out. But after today, I definitely see the greater value of both investments.