A previous post chewed on the vast discrepancy between a $300,000 Iraqi estimate to repair a particular bridge and an American bid to repair the same bridge at $50 million. Today, Gilbert sends along a Washington Post piece that helps put such cost discrepancies into perspective. It’s not that the American bids are without greed, but much of the cost difference is taken up in cultural differences. Americans see a bombed out cement factory and see the need to basically scrap it and rebuild from scratch. Iraqis, accustomed to doing a lot with a little, see a chance to clear out the rubble and get the darn thing online, even if at lowered capacity. The Iraqi improv may be more of a Band-Aid than a long-term solution, but still, cement does come out the other end. Then factor in things like insurance – Halliburton has had to waive subcontractor requirements such as hazard insurance, which isn’t even available in Iraq.
Everything is simpler than it seems. No, I mean, more complex.