Fact is, a great deal of infrastructure is built privately. FedEx, for example, is infrastructure: It's a combination of vehicles, warehouses, organizational knowledge and other specific capital that businesses and households rely upon to transport freight and packages. Without FedEx, many businesses would be less profitable or even nonexistent. Some online retailers, for example, might be unable to compete successfully against brick-and-mortar stores.Yes, and those FedEx deliveries, and the coal to fire the power plants that keep the pixels flowing, and not enough of the Bakken oil, make use of investor-provided infrastructure that most readers only notice when one of those coal trains delays their drive by a few minutes.
Of course, FedEx isn't a road or a bridge. But so what? FedEx, no less than a road or bridge, enhances our abilities to pursue our private goals. When you start to reflect on what is infrastructure, you see that infrastructure isn't only those things supplied by government.
And you then also see that our world is filled with lots of privately built infrastructure: FedEx, privately built oil and gas pipelines, private schools, private insurance companies, privately built skyscrapers. This list goes on and on.
All of these privately built and operated pieces of infrastructure are financed by the voluntary payments of the businesses and households that use them.
WHAT'S MISSING FROM THIS STORY?
Don Boudreaux (of Cafe Hayek) enlightens readers that "infrastructure" doesn't imply "government".