Large Public Works Projects: Part I

Off the keyboard of RE

Published on th Doomstead Diner on March 3, 2012

In this location on the Homepage of the Diner Blog, I will be reposting notable articles from the Diner Archives. Check back regularly to catch articles you may have missed when originally published.-RE

When you look back at the Successful Periods of Civilizations Past, what they all seem to have in common are very Large Public Works Projects (LPWP) which kept many people in the Civilization Busy and served to keep an Economy moving along. Whether it was the Tower of Babel; the Pyramids of Egypt; the Roman Aqueducts; the Great Wall(s) of China; or the Railroads and then the Interstate Highway system of the FSofA, during their Heyday all these civilizatin produced some large Public works project which had some form of Utility associated with it. Even the Pyramids weren’t strictly just big Burial Tombs for the Pharoahs, they were used as reference points for astronomical observation, which helped in the development of Mathematics, which in turn helped Agriculture and Commerce to develop.

The Last Big Public Works project of this sort was the Space Race, engaged in by the two major Power Centers of the USSR and the FSofA until the two of them simply became too overburdened with the costs to continue on with them in any great degree. Arguably however, the Space Race led to many Innovations in communications and computing which held benefits for the population for a period of time.

In order to take on these huge Public Works projects, the society has to be in tremedous Surplus, they are very costly on all levels to build. For the ancient ones, the cost came in the form of the vast amount of slave labor necessary and the food to keep all those Slaves fed while not themselves directly engaged inthe production of food. In the recent incarnations, the cost came in the form of huge fossil fuel energy consumption to build these projects, and then to pay the Wage Slaves engaged in the task of building said project.

What does a Huge Public works Project do for an Economy? Basically, it takes all the surplus you have and then provides Work for individual Laborers of the society, giving people a “purpose” for living and a means to distribute out the surplus to them, at least enough so they can survive. Of course, during the period such Public Works projects are undertaken, the surplus is Soooo great that the folks running the show are living very high on the hog, whether it was Pharoahs in Egypt or the Robber Barons of the Railroad Era.

The lack of or disappearance of a LPWP seems to me to be a good leading indicator that a civilization is going into a collapse phase. In the absence of a good LPWP, the society runs out of enough Work to keep the people Busy, and without Work to do there never has been found yet a good way to fairly distribute the production of a society. These last few years of development of the Social Welfare state demonstrate all the problems you get when you simply Dole Out emough money for people to survive without Working. It takes away the incentive to work, and the number of people not working grows faster than the number working. The people working become resentful of the people not working. Thus you get the Knee Jerk comments made by Pols like Lizard Gingrich about OWSers “Go get a Job, right after you get a Shower”.

Once the ability to fund an LPWP diminshes sufficiently, the society devolves to the next means of Job Creation for the Masses, which is to go to War and employ the Poor in the Bizness of killing each other off and sufficiently destroying the infrastructure that upon the conclusion of the war there are few enough people left and now you once again have a Big Public Works Project to keep them busy, which is Rebuilding all they just finished destroying.

The last 2 World Wars, WWI and WWII were undertaken after the first major LPWP of Railroad Construction was more or less completed, and really WWII was just an extension of WWI, a brief hiatus during which the transition was made from mostly Coal Power to Oil Power. The denoument of WWII provided 2 LPWPs one for Europe and another for the FSoA. In Europe, it was the Marshall Plan to Rebuild the infrastructure of Eurotrashland. Here in the FSofA it was the building of the Interstate Highway system and the development of the Carz Economy of Ring Roads, Suburbs, Fast Food and Malls. This was a MASSIVE LPWP which totally transformed the landscape of the FSofA. “Pave Paradise, put up a Parking Lot”, as Joni Mitchell wrote & sang in “Big Yellow Taxi”.

Thing is of course, at the conclusion of WWII, globally we were still a world AWASH in vast surplus of Oil. It didn’t really demand that big a Die Off before a new LPWP could be created leveraging up the thermodynamic energy of all the Cheap Energy still in the ground at that time. As the last of our LPWPs, the Space Race now comes to a close here and WWIII is on the Horizon, how and when do we exit from THAT with sufficient surplus to once again create a new LPWP to give “productive” work to J6P?

Without the presence of a large quantity of cheap energy, the die Off from WWII will have to be ona much greater scale than from WWII. Without the cheap energy, we won’t be in surplus again until the population is much smaller than it is now, and with no surplus, you get no LPWP. Population drops low enough, you can’t do LPWP because it takes a decent size population to organize up such things, especially in the absence of Oil Energy. A project like the Interstate which used the force multiplier of Oil to get it built would take Centuries of Slave Labor to complete, just as it took centuries to build the Great Wall of China. In reality you could not even do it with Slave Labor, since just to produce the Steel necessary takes vast amounts of heat energy that Human labor cannot replace.

The world ahead of us is one without LPWPs, at least for a while to come anyhow. What will be necessary for a reinvention of Homo Sapiens are small community size Public Works projects. Once the population dips low enough, such a New Begining might begin to take shape.

There is of course the slim and unlikely chance for perhaps one more LPWP that could be leveraged up here after just a moderate die off in WWIII, if it is accomplished without thoroughly destroying the current infrastructure and sucking up too much of the remaining positive EROEI Oil, which would be to take the remaining Population and remaining Oil and use it all to create as many Renewable Energy systems as possible to leverage up from that remaining wealth. If we had set about such a task in 1950 instead of building the Interstate, one can only imagine how different the world might have turned out, but alas that did not happen.

Even if we DO manage at some point here to Arrest the Die Off and successfully build such an LPWP,atthat time we will still need ANOTHER LPWP to keep the population Busy as Beavers. More than anything, it is the lack of a PURPOSE in life that weighs so heavily on our society, and is the cause of its social problems. Even most of the people who HAVE jobs now only do them because its the only real means for them to survive in this society. Relatively few people “love” their jobs. Even people who make gobs of money often do not like their jobs. This is not to say Slaves employed moving around big rocks to build the Pyramids enjoyed their jobs, but there was a definitive purpose to it, and I suspect during the Period that Egypt was in enough Surplus to keep such an LPWP running, the Slaves did not Revolt. Only once the Pharoahs ran outta Money to keep building those Pyramids and they weren’t being Fed enough by the Pharoah did Moses DEMAND, “Let My People GO!” And the Pharoah COMPLIED, because why keep the Slaves if you cannot feed them and you cannot afford to use them to build a Pyramid?

So too will our Slavery to the Illuminati end here in this iteration, and like the followers of Moses, all us former Slaves will be forced to walk the tough road to True Freedom out in the Desert. You will only FIND true freedom if you can MAKE IT out there in the Desert also, you will NEVER find it in the Belly of the Beast.

Long as you have a choice of Destinations to head for though, I would suggest not heading for the Desert, but rather head for the Mountains. Head for a place with really BIG Mountains. The Great Wall that GOD Built to protect the Independent Souls of the World.

RE

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