Much like the presumed-dry domain of logistics, infrastructure has long been tied to what the Cold War era called “command and control” systems — and that emphasis on defining political and social order remains latent in its civilianization. As Jo Guldi observed in her excellent Roads to Power: Britain Invents the Infrastructure State, for the state the act of infrastructure-making is also an act of defining markets, social relations, and the formation of a body politic.
.. Authoritarians tend to have really comprehensive infrastructure plans, which usually contributes to their appeal. From British roads in the nineteenth century to Hitler’s Autobahn to power grid repairs by ISIS to, uh, Immortan Joe’s Citadel, anyone seeking the legitimacy afforded a state understands that maintaining infrastructure not only builds goodwill (or at least subservience), it’s also a tremendous display of power.
.. it turns the owner or architect of that that infrastructure (not, let’s be clear, the actual labor force maintaining it) into a humblebragging servant of the greater good. Whether or not that system genuinely serves more than a power elite or a fascist agenda is more or less handwaved away.