Cultural Constraints on High-Speed Rail in the US: Is American Exceptionalism an Explanation?
17 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2013
Date Written: December 5, 2012
The development of high speed rail infrastructures in the US faces a great challenge given the concern of economic viability and political complexity. However, a deeper investigation reveals that most of these concerns and complexity issues can be explained from a cultural perspective, which elucidates essential characteristics that affect daily behavior, lifestyle and public attitudes. This paper discusses debate on the US high speed rail policy in the context of American exceptionalism. Through an exploration of the four traits of American exceptionalism, I argue that the reasons for the stagnation of high speed rail initiatives in the US can be attributed to four unique cultural constraints: individualism, anti-statism, populism and egalitarianism. In the end of the discussion, recommendations are proposed for developing strategies to cater to these special culture needs.
Keywords: cultural constraint, high speed rail, American exceptionalism
JEL Classification: L92, R40, Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation