(Bloomberg) -- The US has lost its ability to build big projects and produce goods, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen lamented Tuesday during an appearance at a technology conference in Washington, hosted by autonomous vehicle software company Applied Intuition.

The billionaire investor cited examples of major accomplishments from an earlier era—like the Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge and the Manhattan Project—and said that the US, which “has always prided itself on production,” has let its advantages atrophy in recent decades. It’s a thesis that Andreessen, who co-founded the venture firm Andreessen Horowitz, has been speaking and writing about since the first few months of the Covid-19 pandemic, when he saw that the country was struggling to provide enough protective equipment to health care workers. 

The problem, he said, is that “a cultural political change” has led to a “vetocracy,” or “a set of systems in which a lot of people have the ability to say no.” He cited stymied examples such as San Francisco’s inability to build significant numbers of new residential units in a housing crunch and the glacial pace of California’s expensive high-speed rail project. “If this were China, that train would be running today,” he said. “It’s astonishing to me.”

Andreessen’s comments come two years after he published his manifesto, “It’s Time to Build,” which hit on many of the same themes, and was broadly influential in Silicon Valley. Andreessen generally believes that freer markets would often solve America’s problems. For example, while most insurance-covered health care services remain exorbitantly expensive, Andreessen said, laser eye surgery has gotten cheaper and better over time because it’s elective and therefore something consumers pay for directly, an argument that competition drives innovation and better services.

As for the recent slump in technology stocks, he said it’s too soon to tell what the effect will be on the Silicon Valley startup scene. The past three years have been a surprising time for tech: The pandemic, instead of killing startups, boosted them. “It’s maybe the weirdest thing we’ve ever seen,” he said. “The pandemic was fantastic, which is just not supposed to happen.”

Now that some venture investors are getting spooked by the volatility in the public markets, Andreessen said he’s seen some startup fundraising deals stall out, while others are continuing on as though nothing has changed. In the next six months, the longevity of the slump will become clearer. For now, “I have no idea which way this goes,” he said.

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