Poor social and physical infrastructure is costly to residents, and it causes inflation to inflict greater woe on a society.
In the Virgin Islands, the list of such issues is long: inadequate water supply; unhygienic garbage dumps; garbage-strewn neighbourhoods; dirty streets with a lack of good drainage; poor sewage disposal; poor sanitation; dangerous and uneven pavements; poor and deadly road networks; lack of policing; limited sports facilities; untended public parks; poorly maintained schools; and more. The preceding defines underdevelopment in its starkest form.
Poorly governed countries fail to meet the most basic benchmark of good governance: providing residents with a safe and wholesome existence.
In late 2022, after decades of self-rule, there is no reason for Road Town to become a stench-ridden swamp after an hour of rainfall, with residents tiptoeing over pools of water and crates strewn on the ground. There is no excuse for anarchy on the roads, with music booming from cars with oversized speakers, scooter riders ripping through traffic without helmets and mufflers, deafening trucks, and cars using the public roads as a racetrack.
The measure of development is as simple as visiting a country or territory that has invested in its physical and social infrastructure. The contrast is as clear as day and night between a jurisdiction that takes its infrastructure development seriously and one that takes this most basic requirement of good governance for granted.
Countries with great infrastructure allow a traveler to amble pleasantly about their towns without unpleasant smells, dodgy walkways, and dangerous traffic. Tourists can visit local museums and galleries and enjoy the culture and history. Travelers can use cheap and efficient public transportation, and they experience first-class customer service in great hotels and stores.
Good public infrastructure does not simply improve the standard and quality of life it: It lowers the cost of living and drives a higher standard of living.
Countries and territories with good public infrastructure are less expensive and more cost-effective for both their residents and visitors.
Moreover, great infrastructure offers benefits not easily costed: increased safety of residents; a clean and wholesome environment; better access to efficient public services; ease of doing business; a greater experience for tourists and travelers; and more.
Cost of living
Ultimately, a country or territory that invests innovatively in its social and economic infrastructure brings down the cost of doing business and further reduces the cost of living for residents — an important factor in today’s inflationary environment.
The next time you amble about Road Town and get hit by the smell of deteriorating garbage — or your shoes get dirty because the roads are unwashed, or you trip over a gap on the pavement, or you are accosted by booming loudspeakers — understand that you are experiencing existence as a dweller of an undeveloped land.
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