WEALTH AND MONEY PART XXIII: PIE IN THE SKY??
“Powerful enemies must be out-fought and out-produced. It is not enough to turn out just a few more planes, a few more tanks, a few more guns, a few more ships than can be turned out by our enemies. We must out-produce them overwhelmingly, so that there can be no question of our ability to provide a crushing superiority of equipment in any theatre of the world war.”
– – President Franklin D. Roosevelt speaking to Congress and the nation after Pearl Harbor.
The United States Army ranked thirty-ninth in the world in 1939. It had a cavalry of fifty thousand and used horses to pull artillery. Ford Motor Company’s mile long Willow Run Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan didn’t exist in January of 1941. Workers began clearing trees for the 3.5 million square foot facility on March 28th. By the end of the year the plant was ready to begin production. The typical Ford car in 1941 had roughly 15,000 parts. The B-24 Liberator long range bomber had 1,550,000. By late 1943 a completed B-24 was coming off of the Willow Run assembly line every 63 minutes.
Similar miracles occurred across U.S. industry during World War II. America launched more ships in 1941 and built more planes in 1944 than Japan did during the entire war. By the end of 1945 more than half of all industrial production in the world took place in the United States. The accomplishments, by any standard, were breathtaking. But in truth they were not miracles. They were the product of a united political and financial will, and the overwhelmingly popular perception of a common enemy.
In 1939 millions of Americans were still living in poverty from the Great Depression and the Wall Street oligarchic corruption that caused it. America could “not afford” to help average working people. But as the war expanded the financial power structure controlling America felt threatened. Mysteriously and out of nowhere all of the wealth needed to conduct war suddenly appeared. America could “afford” to do whatever was necessary to win. Of course the true wealth ((matter +energy) X human knowledge) needed to lift working people out of poverty had always existed and in the decades following the war average Americans were rich beyond any historical precedent. But short of a mortal threat to themselves, the greed-driven financial elites were not about to share with the masses.
Humanity is currently in a situation similar to that of the United States in 1939. Austerity is the reigning ideology. People must “tighten their belt” and suffer everywhere. Nations cannot “afford” to help working people, they cannot “afford” to repair crumbling infrastructure, they cannot “afford” to upgrade the electrical grid or implement a major shift to alternative energies. Nothing can be done to improve life for humanity.
But the people of planet Earth now face a self-created, common enemy far more dangerous than World War II. It is the combined threat of global warming and nuclear war and the future of mankind is at stake. To say it is “pie in sky” to solve the problems confronting us in anything short of decades is as ludicrous as saying the Willow Run B-24 bomber plant never existed.
“Miracles” can be repeated. The technologies in wind turbines, photoelectric cells and the other alternative energies are simple compared to the complexity of a B-24 Liberator bomber or the far more sophisticated weaponry in use today. Enlightened implementation of global strategies to place Spaceship Earth on a safe, life supporting trajectory must, and can, be soon accomplished.
However the world’s oligarchic/plutocratic rulers and the governments they control feel no immediate threat. As such there is not the financial/political will that enabled the vast mobilization during World War II. Driven by greed and the insatiable, sociopathic quest for power and control, the global financial elite continue to lead us down a path of self-destructive insanity. From the ever more environmentally hazardous production and transport of fossil fuels, to the endless corporate wars for imperial dominance in the Middle East and elsewhere, the money seeking madness goes on.
There is indeed the need to wage a war, but it is the antithesis of military conflict. World War III must be mankind against global warming and the destructive, rather than constructive, use of our true planetary wealth. It will be a Willow Run for life.
Part XXIV will discuss: WEALTH AND ANTIWEALTH