The late 19th century was the time of great capital projects. Much scandal surrounded these projects. They were corrupt and they fostered swindles.
The real effects were unassailable; the engineering was monumental and durable, and it changed the face of the developed world. Indeed, the engineering is what made for the development of the developed world. The management and the finance of the projects was another story. Property rights for corporate activity and for corporate shares were novel, and the political/economic system was not yet able to manage the process. As a result, it turns out the economic interests were able to overwhelm the political interests, and, unltimately, to undermine the democratic processes wherever large capital touched the nation-state.
Large capital is able to suborn both the legislature and the press, not unlike Newscorp today.
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