Tom Friedman is convinced that China has gotten the idea of proper governance right and that the U.S. has gotten it horribly wrong. Everywhere Friedman goes, it seems, he is rudely reminded of the inferiority of our way of life.
The latest reminder of our impending demise as a great power is the run-down condition of the Los Angeles International Airport:
Walking through its faded, cramped domestic terminal, I got the feeling of a place that once thought of itself as modern but has had one too many face-lifts and simply can’t hide the wrinkles anymore. In some ways, LAX is us. We are the United States of Deferred Maintenance. China is the People’s Republic of Deferred Gratification. They save, invest and build. We spend, borrow and patch.
But Abe Greenwald notes that, just last week it was announced that LAX will be the beneficiary of a $1.545 billion building project. The project will “create a new world-class terminal,” which is only part of a larger “master plan” to “establish a new regional icon that embodies the character of Los Angeles and transforms LAX into the airport of the future.”
Greenwald concludes that “if ‘LAX is us’ (arguably the silliest Friedman metaphor in a category packed with brutal competition), then we’re about to takeoff.”
As for Friedman, maybe he should get out less.