It may work eventually, but it's a boondoggle for construction companies and mayors/governors
. So I must have been just dreaming when I thought I remembered zipping from London to Paris in just over two hours and sending emails from under the Atlantic seabed.
Emphasis mine. What you say does not contract what OP said. From the Wikipedia article on the Channel Tunnel:
In 1985 prices, the total construction cost was Â£4.650 billion (equivalent to Â£13 billion today), an 80% cost overrun.
I suspect what's going on is a bit more insidious than mere corruption. Construction companies bid low so that they'll win the contract. Then they charge the actual construction costs as cost overruns. What's needed is an incentive to encourage companies to bid a realistic estimated cost, rather than a completely unrealistic underbid just to win the contract. Something like, say, not paying for overruns and holding the company to its original bid price.
The problem with the free market, and lassaize-faire capitalism is that it is destroyed by the first group that has major success. Becuse the greed that fuels the market can become very destructive as people with pathological levels of it inevitably take over. And the simplistic early agriculture type arguments for it just don't work in a highy technical and mechanized world.
There are so many examples which disprove this that I'm amazed it was modded up: IBM PC, Compaq, Apple iPhone, 3dfx, Blackberry, Palm Pilot, Nokia, GeoCities, Myspace, Wordperfect, Lotus, Silicon Graphics, Kodak, Blockbuster, Sony Walkman, Sears, Pan Am, Schwinn, Motorola, Sun, DEC, Yahoo, Xerox copiers, Nintendo (except they managed to claw their way back with the Wii).
All of these were market leaders who in many cases once owned 80% or more of their respective markets, til they were out-competed and were replaced as king of the hill. Contrary to what you claim, it's harder to maintain a dominant market position in a highly technical and mechanized world. The rapid pace of technological progress means it's very easy to fall behind if you misstep (Yahoo, Sony, Pan Am, Blockbuster), or get lazy (Xerox, Kodak, Myspace, Blackberry), or get out-maneuvered (Nintendo - both ways, WordPerfect, Lotus, Apple iPhone, IBM PC).
The free market works most of the time. Monopolies are the exception, not the norm, and I'm fine with bashing those with government regulation when they happen. Believing that monopolies are inevitable and thus everything must be regulated, is just as foolish as believing everything will work just fine if there is no regulation.
If you want to lead people to a conclusion opposite of the facts, presenting a few contrary examples is a great way to do it. That's why people are obsessed with assigning credit or blame for specific incidents. Kudos to you for seeing the forest despite the trees.
If you didn't have to work so hard, you'd have more time to be depressed.