Page 4 - Contractors World - International Vol 3 No 7

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Editorial Comment
Does anyone have any
idea what is going on?
As articles in this and earlier issues of
Contractors World show, there are major
infrastructure works taking place around the world. This is more
than just the ‘booming regions of China and India’ which may not be as
booming as some people may consider and at what social cost?
However, leaving India and China to one side, Russia is implementing
massive schemes, not all associated with the Winter Olympic Games in 2014.
The country seems determined to open up the vast area thereby giving easier
access to mineral deposits which in turn will lead to industrial development
and all associated community spin-offs.
Mines are being developed in remote parts of Scandinavia, city centres
throughout Europe continue to invest in underground metro systems to
alleviate congestion on city roads. Even in the USA, where the construction
industry is probably the hardest hit, there are some major projects. The hard-
fought for U.S. surface transportation bill is now law, although it has yet to be
fully implemented, will give the industry a much needed boost.
In the UK, as reported in our sister publication, Contractors World - UK &
Ireland edition, one of Europe’s largest project, the London CrossRail tunnel
project is progressing and, hopefully, the Government will see sense and
realise that it is economic madness to further develop Heathrow airport. This
is well past its ‘use by’ date and is a shameful gateway to the UK in comparison
to other airports around the world. The solution has to be a new airport built
in the Thames Estuary which would create thousands of jobs in the industry
and with suppliers.
Despite all this, economists still promote the dire situation that we are all
in (mainly caused by the very people that are now telling us).
In my opinion, the truth lies somewhere in between. In the recent past,
the rate of growth in developed countries around the world was so rapid that
it should have been obvious to all that it could not be sustained. Economists
compare todays figures with those at the peak of the boom.
If we take out the boom years and calculate in a more realistic growth rate,
then I am sure the true situation is that we are not that much worse off - in
the construction industry at least.
Unfortunately for many in the industry, in countries such as Greece,
Portugal, Spain and Italy where governments have had to implement austerity
measures (i.e. cut spending) the construction industry takes the biggest blow.
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Page 4
Contractors World - International Vol 3 No 7