Infrastructural Capital : LUSENET : 3gl4d : One Thread

Infrastructural capital: one of six styles of capital

by Craig Hubley November 12 1999 last modified December 10 1999

"...any shift up to a new, higher-value offering entails giving away the old, lower value offering." - Pine and Gilmore "The Experience Economy"

We measure infrastructural capital by its capacity to reduce risk and save time. Having it lets us avoid learning and executing new instructional capital to build it. [eg] the value of physical architecture per Benedikt.

Fixed assets depreciate over time, often to the point where we offer them for use simply in exchange for the maintenance costs or taxes. Like any physical property, infrastructure requires social capital and financial capital to guard and maintain it. Sometimes this represents a large investment (e.g. when social trust is low and an infrastructure is large, like a railway in wartime). It can prevent waste of individual, natural, and social resources by implicitly guiding human action, e.g. a bridge prevents river-crossing from happening at all points and saves lives from drowning.

On the smallest scale, e.g. a single human body or suit of clothing or sleeping bag, we perceive the origins of our deep attachments to physical property: the safety we associate with warmth, which is literally the entropy or disorder that we recirculate to our own uses. On the largest, e.g. New York City, we find an abundance of people at all levels of wealth and power, adhering (more or less) to a few recognizable governance protocols supported by the structure of the city itself. For these to work, City streets and parks (and to a lesser degree lobbies and elevators) must be free. The cost of charging rent on the land exceeds that gained by trying to charge it. Capital assets become public through a process of colonization and distraction: when no one cares any longer to charge tolls on a bridge or road, it is "freed". It remains critical to the economy, but no longer shows up on our balance sheet.


-- Anonymous, March 20, 2000

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