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Want to improve transport? Take a lesson from Adam Smith

We don't just need better infrastructure—we need better skills

By John Hayes  

There's a key connection between infrastructure and skills.

The economist Adam Smith understood the power of transport. Without the means to move people and products, he said, “every farmer must be butcher, baker and brewer.” But provide transport and the farmer can concentrate on farming, move his produce to market, and buy bread from the craft bakers in town. The farm flourishes, the farmer prospers, drinks better beer, and everyone benefits.

This observation remains the basis of all transport economics. Yet for me it represents a special insight, uniting two…

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