The Bad Road building strategy is this:
1. You build the first increment of the road wherever you have the political power to do so — well placed office holders, corrupt governors, entrenched mining companies, lack of local opposition. Your justification: jobs and terrorism.
2. You then build the next segment of road through the most expensive terrain, such as mountains and karst.
3. Next you build the road section through national forests or national parks.
4. Now you sell the idea that “If a job is worth doing, it is worth doing right.” This is the argument for staying the course, finishing the job, never losing faith, and recovering sunk cost. After all, the last increments only destroy idle farm land, so it would be a shame not to complete what others have sacrificed so dearly to achieve.
The incremental strategy is as old as mankind, starting with Genesis and seen most recently in Iraq. “We cannot let down the 500 brave patriots who have given so much for freedom — we must bring democracy (or roads) to those who have suffered so much.” It has been called “Divide and conquer,” “Camel’s nose under the tent,” “Great oaks from little acorns grow,” and a host of other slogans. On the other hand, resistance to tyranny has always started small. Our efforts to stop bad roads need to include the public reminder that diseases like cancer start small, and that bad roads are a cancer on our lives and land.