There is nothing new under the sun. – Ecclesiastes 1:9
I'm a sucker for those "impulse buy" periodicals you always see when you're standing in the checkout line at Wal-Mart, Target, or Wegmans.
No, I'm not talking about the credibility-bending "News of the World (WWII German U-Boat Surfaces in New York Harbor – Crew Believes They're Still at War)" or any of those celebrity-chasing rags ("Insert-Name-Here Enjoys Hot Night in Hot Tub While Spouse Is on Movie Location").
I'm referring to those often-cool "special issues" that National Geographic, Time, and Scientific American seem to be doing with increasing frequency.
Just last week, in fact, I couldn't resist buying a National Geographic special called "Wonders of the Ancient World."
And I'm glad I did.
Because stuck in the middle of this slick, 130-page booklet was a feature about four "early infrastructure" projects.
Let's take a quick walk through history and look at each of the four. Then let me tell you about a move that a "smart money" player just made that spotlights a new 21st-century profit opportunity most investors aren't even thinking about right now.
The Pot of Gold in Potholes
When most folks think about "infrastructure," I'll bet that potholes are one of the first things they think of.
And I can't blame them – potholes tick me off, too.
To be clear, I'm not talking about the little ones that appear here and there as your street ages or that are the result of a highway's regular usage.
I'm talking about those kidney-jarring pits that appear after a tough winter or after a water-main break – the kind that literally bounce you off the roof of your car when you hit them at highway speeds (or a little faster).
I have an hour-long commute – twice a day (to and from the office) – and am well-acquainted with those Grand Canyon-esque highway pits of hell.
They're proliferating, which underscores a reality we face – our "infrastructure" is breaking down.
And it's not just roads. Here in Baltimore City, where my office is, the water system is on life support. More than once I've gone to our kitchen to get a cup of water only to watch something brown run out of the faucet.
And we're constantly dealing with detours as Baltimore's valiant public works crews struggle to repair the latest damage.
Baltimore isn't alone – cities across the United States are dealing with this. Surging traffic numbers mean roads and highways are being used in excess of their designed capacity. Bridges are aging. Water systems are decrepit. Parks need upgrading…
Indeed, it's a problem throughout the world as the global population continues to boom.
And it's not just repairing or upgrading old "infrastructure" – the official term for these public works projects.
You also have to add new projects into this mix. New developments – and new cities – require new roads to serve them. And new bridges. New water systems. And new airports.
This challenge isn't one limited to our modern times. Throughout history, growth has spawned the need for infrastructure projects – most of them publicly funded.
In that special issue, National Geographic highlighted four spectacular public works projects from history. And they're worth a look before we move on to the profit opportunity I'm going to tell you about – because they highlight the challenge that's creating this opening for us.
About the Author
Before he moved into the investment-research business in 2005, William (Bill) Patalon III spent 22 years as an award-winning financial reporter, columnist, and editor. Today he is the Executive Editor and Senior Research Analyst for Money Morning. With his latest project, Private Briefing, Bill takes you "behind the scenes" of his established investment news website for a closer look at the action. Members get all the expert analysis and exclusive scoops he can't publish... and some of the most valuable picks that turn up in Bill's closed-door sessions with editors and experts.