The construction industry, as anyone knows who has tried to build himself even the tiniest summer place, is one of the most backward in the country. Obsolete building codes, “political peddling,” restrictive practices of builders and contractors, the practices of the building trades unions— these are but a few of the problems. Present building methods are obsolete, and there is strong resistance to those new materials and techniques which alone could bring down the costs. And in most cities there is a tacit understanding between contractors, union bosses, and political figures to maintain the status quo in this industry which is so sorely in need of reform.
The building industry absorbs about $90 billion dollars a year, of which roughly one-third comes out of public funds. Apart from the sources of funding, there are two power centers in the industry: the builders and contractors, who enjoy some of the highest profit rates in American industry—and the unions....
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